ANN BAILEY: Cellphone takes a licking but keeps on ringingWhile the cellphone has many advantages over the old wall phone at my mom and dad’s house, the downside is that it’s easy to misplace. During the past 15 years since I got my first cell, I’ve lost one and had to replace it and had several near misses in which I thought the phones were lost but eventually found them.
For as long as I can remember, there’s been a phone hanging on the wall of my parents’ kitchen. Though some of my friends had phones in their bedrooms and separate teen lines for their personal calls, I had to share our phone with my family.
That was good strategy on my parents’ part. Like many teen-aged girls, I loved to talk on the phone. The phone cord, however, was only a few feet long so the only option was to stand next to the phone or sit at the kitchen table while I talked.
That meant that unless I was home by myself, talking about boys, clothes and makeup was out of the question. Eliminating those options left little to talk about, so my calls were pretty short and to the point. I saved the drama and fluff for face-to-face conversation.
Four decades later, this time by choice, I still don’t talk on the phone a lot. However, the phone I have now is much more mobile than the one I grew up with and fits most anywhere, including my purse, pocket or the palm of my hand.
While the cellphone has many advantages over the old wall phone at my mom and dad’s house, the downside is that it’s easy to misplace. During the past 15 years since I got my first cell, I’ve lost one and had to replace it and had several near misses in which I thought the phones were lost but eventually found them. I’ve located them wedged between the bucket seats of my car, in a patch of grass by our garage and under my desk at work.
Recently I found my phone in our dumpster. However, I didn’t lose it in there. I tossed it in on purpose — sort of. As usual, I was carrying several things with me when I was heading out to the garage. In one hand were my keys and a bag of garbage and in the other was my cellphone. I tossed the bag of garbage, and then without thinking, threw the cellphone after it.
“Oh-h-h-h-h-h, no-o- o-o-o-o,” I thought to myself as soon as I realized what I had done. For a second, I thought maybe the phone would land on top of the garbage and I could easily pluck it out. Then I heard the clunk of the cellphone on the floor of the dumpster.
I still had hopes of finding the phone without digging through the garbage so I gingerly moved a couple of bags to see if I could spot a purple rectangle. No such luck
I knew then that I was going to have to climb in the dumpster. However, I was dressed to retrieve the phone in my work clothes and had to take my son Brendan to football camp in Larimore, N.D., so I decided my phone could stay put for the next half hour or so.
When I got in the car, I told Brendan what I had done and he asked me what I was going to do about it and I told him that I’d leave it there for now and get it after I dropped him off.
“But Mom what if they come to empty the dumpster before you get back?” he asked. I told him that the refuge company was scheduled to come on Thursday and it was only Tuesday so I was safe.
On the way home from Larimore, I devised a plan in my head for finding the phone as quickly as possible, and when I arrived at our house I put it in place. First, I put on a pair of coveralls to protect my work clothes, slipped on a pair of old tennis shoes and then got our house cellphone. I asked my son, Thomas, to come with me, explaining on the way to the dumpster that I needed him to call my cell.
When we got to the dumpster, Thomas dialed my number and a few seconds later we heard my phone ringing from the bottom right hand corner of the dumpster. Thomas offered to climb in and get it for me, but he was wearing shorts and I had on my coveralls, so I declined and heaved myself over the side, pushed aside a few bags of garbage and fished out the cell.
I handed it to Thomas, and then climbed out of the dumpster. I opened the phone and was happy to see the fall hadn’t killed it. I told Thomas that I was going to clean the phone with hand sanitizer and that it should be good as new. He told me he thought the phone seemed to be a little stinky and that the hand sanitizer would be a good idea.
From now on, I don’t plan on carrying my phone with me when I’m going to throw away the garbage. Either that, or go back to the old wall phone. It would take much more effort to toss that one into the dumpster.