With high hopes for a goal of widespread family communication in the new year, I finally submitted to the cell craze and bestowed the most basic instruments upon the family, admonishing the kids that these phones should be used only in cases of dire emergency such as a vehicular crisis more severe than a broken radio knob, physical injury resulting in the use of the family health insurance, or an unbelievable shoe sale at the mall.
Minutes later I received a text message from my oldest son who was located directly across the kitchen table, typing furiously on his new phone’s keypad. During several attempts to read the message, I managed to call myself twice, change the screensaver, and turn on the speakerphone function.
“Mom, just press this button,” the Alexander Graham Bell of the electronic age reached across and tapped the keypad. With a resounding beep, the message leaped to the screen. “Pass the potatoes.”
New rule. No more text messages between people who are close enough to cut each other’s meat.
Over the next few weeks, I began to suspect that some of us were taking the definition of emergency-approved telephone use with a dose of salt large enough to increase my blood pressure. Son One called to tell me that he was tired of having chicken for supper, Son Two phoned to make sure I was aware that he knew how to make a call without dialing the actual number, and someone purporting to be the dog called to tell me he didn’t care what we were eating or when, he just wanted to be included. The digital display flashing my husband’s number gave me a clue to the culprit’s true identity. Besides, the dog is too smart to give himself away so easily; he would have had the cat make the call.
On my next trip to the mall, I visited the convenient restrooms thoughtfully located in the luau-themed food court. Hanging my purse on the pineapple, I assumed the classic public restroom hover-squat position recognizable to health-conscious women everywhere. Suddenly, the unmistakable sounds of Beethoven’s most famous four notes exploded against the ceramic walls. DA DA DA DUN!
The phone. I looked up. My purse hung tantalizingly above my head like an overripe coconut on a palm tree.
If I could kick the bottom of the bag, I could knock it from the hook to the floor and retrieve it with the toe of my imitation leather flower-bedecked thong sandal. I reached out tentatively with one shoe and immediately appreciated the disastrous results of stretching further.
DA DA DA DUN!
An attempt to use the spare roll of toilet paper as a projectile also failed.
DA DA DA DUN! Beethoven played on, more insistent with every note.
In desperation, I lunged for my purse, grabbed it off the hook and fell back in place just as the automatic flusher sensed evacuation and commenced operations, sucking the tail of my skirt into unknown depths. I pulled the phone from the depths of its nest and flipped it open with a flourish. The caller was my firstborn son, obviously in some turmoil that only his mother could resolve.
“Mom, do we have any clean spoons?”
It figures. To me, crisis avoidance is saving my skirt from the self-flusher. To him, it’s getting a snack before CSI comes on.
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