The Cell Phone Situation

We have four identical cell phones in my family, one for each of us, which have served us well and faithfully through the years. They’re old-ish Nokias with a cover that flips up when you press a button on the side. My mother received an iPhone from her company about a year ago, which upped the number to five. Then my father forgot his phone in Brazil last Christmas. The SIM card he still had, for it had been taped to a piece of paper along with the other three and safely ensconced in my mother’s purse for the duration of the trip; but the phone was gone. On returning to Denmark, my mother gave him her phone, wherein he put his chip, and used her iPhone instead. This worked quite well.

Meanwhile, my phone started slowly going to pieces.

It started with laziness. Sometimes the SMSs I sent wouldn’t go the first time, and I’d look at my phone two hours after I thought I’d told someone something and, to my irritation, find out why they hadn’t answered. Well that was no big deal, right? I just learned to double-check. No problem.

But then my cell phone got jealous. It started interrupting my calls midway. It wouldn’t let me talk to anyone for more than a minute. That ticked me off. There was nothing I could really do about it, though, except warn people and try to communicate solely through texts. It sometimes refused to recognize the SIM card. Occasionally it would suddenly declare “Phone restricted” and demand a password before it would allow me to do anything. I had no such password, and in fury I would remove its guts and condemn it to blackness.

It usually worked properly after being turned off and on again a few times. Even so, things got steadily worse. Squiggle took pity on me, and offered me an old phone she had lying around and which she hadn’t used in ages. I gratefully accepted, and took it home quite cheerfully – only to find that it didn’t work either. It simply wouldn’t turn on, no matter what I did. I gave a woeful sigh and resigned myself to my fate.

Then my phone started really letting itself go. Literally. One of the hinges where the screen attached to the body of the phone came off, and persisted in doing so every time I put it back. The back of the phone broke in such a way that it wouldn’t come off all the way when I wanted to change the battery – which I suddenly had to do quite often, because the phone forgot how to charge itself. I had to steal the life forces of other phones to feed mine. I found myself giving the Voldemort speech: “See what I have become? See what I must do to survive? Live off another, a mere parasite!”

Squiggle told me that the phone she’d given me probably just needed to be charged. All I had to do was go to her place and get the charger. And yet I didn’t. There is, to be honest, a certain appeal in being difficult to contact when you are eighteen years old and slightly ticked off at your parents, which I was at the time. So I took great care with my poor decrepit phone, cosseting and coddling it through its cranky fits of disobedience. Until one day I dropped it.

It was an accident. I didn’t mean for it to slip out of my hands, and I certainly didn’t mean for the screen to disconnect entirely from the body. It was a totally accidental decapitation.

Oh, how I mourned over my little phone, how I sorrowed at its passing. Bitter were my tears and broken was my soul.

Until – oh cruel irony! I found that the creature was not dead, merely paralyzed and blinded. Others could still call me; I could simply not pick up, for the moment I tried to flip open the screen, no matter how gently, the poor thing died. And so, with the mocking laughter of the universe echoing in my ears, I went phoneless.

It didn’t last too long, luckily. My sister went to Finland with her photography class and left her phone behind; I used that. Then my parents went to California, and I used my dad’s phone. My mom came back from California (my dad has stayed, setting up the house a little) and continued using her iPhone.

Until last week, that is. The phone wasn’t a gift from her company, but a loan, and they wanted it back, which left her without a phone. Except, of course, that she called on the Power of Mom and took mine. Once again I am left phoneless. And then, to add insult to injury, I ran out of cash on my SIM card. So now I couldn’t call anyone even if I could call anyone.

I begged Squiggle for help, and she promised to bring the charger over to my house today. An hour ago, in fact. I don’t know if she’s forgotten, if she’s just late, if I misunderstood the time… And I can’t even call her to ask.


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