Thursday, March 10, 2016

I Forgot the Ball & Chain!

Deacon's Note: Since I was unable to use the camera feature on my phone today, for reasons you are about to learn, this piece is strangely produced without photographs. Sorry. While I can't promise it will never happen again, maybe I'll post some in the next blog post.

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Humming along peacefully to Susan Tedeschi on the car stereo today on my way to work, I was enjoying having the car for a change. (Usually the Boss keeps it, but sometimes she lets me drive.) But as one song ended, I thought it would be a great time to call Dad, since I only had 10 minutes before arriving at the garage and he's usually amenable to talking just about that long. Nice new car, this Hyundai, which allows one to place a call via voice command and keep both hands on the wheel.

Ruh roh. Lady Tucson's immediate refusal to obey my command went something like this:

Me: Call Dad.

Tucson: To place a call via Bluetooth, a device must first be paired.

Me: DAMNIT! I SAID CALL DAD!!

Tucson: Look dumbass, connect your damn phone and then we'll talk.

Hmm. Checked all my pockets, no cell phone. Double checked, no luck. I was more than halfway to a 10-hour shift with no cellphone. Ruh roh, indeed. Oh well, I decided, it was time to break the fixation.

I'll just text the wife... no big deal. Duh. Text my wife to tell her the phone I can't use to do so is sitting on the desk next to her, while she chuckled at my persistent absent-mindedness? Really? C'mon, Einstein. Geesh.

It soon became painfully apparent how attached I've become to that damn thing. Sit on the toilet, check the emails. Waiting for MAX, scope out arrival times on PDX Bus. Waiting for my bus to arrive, play on FaceBook, check the weather, look at FTDS blog stats. See something cool in and around StumpTown, take a photo for this blog. Missed the Trail Blazers game last night, check the highlights. Wow. I was jolted by the sharp slap of reality. No phone, no mindless play.

So what did that leave me to do? Think, for one thing. Walk and think, actually. What a concept! Walking is my favorite exercise anyway.

I've blathered on before about people and their cell phones, scoffing at how addicted they are to the fool things. Yet here I was without mine, wondering how to live without it. It's funny how quickly we become addicted to the cell drug. Not quite a year ago, I clung to my flip-phone in my middle-age stubbornness, not wanting to become one of "them citified smart phone fellers". Besides, I thought then, what good is a phone except to text or call people? Who needs all that fancy stuff anyway?

Turns out, I do. Well some of it anyway. I don't play games or read books on it (except my novel-in-progress), and the apps I have are either practical or stuffed away in a folder I labelled "Bullshit". It seems I've become addicted like everyone else.

As I drove the bus today, I found myself getting cranky much earlier than usual. Was I having withdrawal symptoms? Nah. We're strictly forbidden to have them out while driving anyway. At the end of the line, I decided it was time for a quick attitude adjustment, so I took a walk. My legs and butt thanked me. Instead of the head-down slow amble, I actually stretched out me limbs and zipped around the block. In the pouring rain. For the first time in 10 months, I felt truly liberated. I didn't care about all those doodads on that dad burned contraption! I also read my nearly-finished copy of a Mark Twain book. Yeah, the thing made of paper pages, with words on them.

The only thing I truly missed was the banter with my beloved truly better half. We're sickening. If you ever saw our text strings, the amount of cute little whatever-you-call-ems (hearts, smoochy-faces, etc. ad nauseous) you might just gag. It is nice however, to make sure she's okay, find out how horribly the dog farted or what came in the mail. Once an evening, I give her a call just to chat about our day. That part I was able to remedy, because I still remember how to use an old-fashioned contraption that's wired to the wall in our break rooms. It had push button numbers, but even if they were on a rotary, I could aptly use it.

After our usual three-minute conversation, we ended it like this:

Lady Blue: "Purple, pink, blue and red hearts, smoochy face."

Me: "Nerdy glasses, hearts and roses, Cupid arrow in heart, smoochy face too."

Good grief. I hope nobody else heard me.

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