Thursday, December 6, 2018

I Lost It!

Somebody donated their obsolete shoes;
I forgot my short-term memory!
It's an issue discussed often among bus operators. In the past five years, buses have become unnaturally silent with the mass infusion of cell phones. Conversations have dwindled so drastically, I sometimes have to fire up the microphone just to see if my passengers are still breathing.

Hey, some operators might say, "I'd rather have silence than a bunch of loudmouths!" True, there's little argument here. However, it seems eerie at times when there's a full bunch with standees in the aisles and it's so quiet you can hear a streetcar bell two blocks away, over the sound of the onboard diesel engine. Even funerals are louder. One evening, the resident mouse farted and everybody onboard jumped as if shots had been fired.

Five years ago, I scoffed at the cell phenomenon, refusing to give in to the information revolution. After all, I had a computer at home. Why would I need it following me around all over tarnation and back? I held off as long as I could. As this blog flourished and readers started contacting me, I felt duty-bound to keep in touch. "Oh, all right, fine!" I told my wife when it came time to upgrade from the rusty flip-phone I stubbornly hung onto. If they had produced rotary-dial cell phones, I likely would have had one. So three years ago, I became one of them fancified smart phone owners. It became an obsession, and soon I walked right into a streetlight pole, transfixed by that tiny screen I thought it was possible to live without.

Like my keys, I've become anal-retentive when it comes to habitually putting it in a safe place when it's not in use. Our Standard Operating Procedures require it be turned off and stowed away while we're in service. It's vital that I know where the phone is at all times, because I've become so attached the case might as well be surgically-implanted in my thigh.

As my age approaches golden hues, my memory seems to be retreating. I can remember events from 50 years ago easier than why I walked into the kitchen five minutes ago. So it happened recently that I finished eating a delicious piece of quiche on my bus while reading emails and the evil FBook memes that crowd my page. Threw the trash away, got in the seat and started the motor to make my final round trip. Once I reached the end of the line and began an oddly-long break, I reached into the "stowed-away" hiding place reserved for my phone.

Betcha the fella in the blue shirt has a better memory
 than this aging bus operator!
Ruh-roh. Not there. Began methodically checking every other place I might have placed it. Even illegal spots. No luck. DAMN! Next I turned the bus inside-out searching for the elusive machine that should have remained attached to the kitchen wall as it was decades ago. All I found was trash.

The first thing I thought of: "I should call the wife and tell her..." Nope, couldn't do that.

"It's cold out here, wonder what the temp is..." Colder than the temperature in our bed was gonna be after my wife learned that I would have to replace my phone just before Santa's bills came due.

As I retraced my steps it was obvious that I had left it on the wheel well after cleaning up after dinner. Not only was my anger directed inward, but it also turned to my passengers. They'll often turn in a cell phone somebody left on the bus, and I thank them, bag and tag it, turn it in to the Station Agent after my shift. The slimeball who found it had the nerve to thank me on the way out the door. Not sure who did it, but my curse of the fleas of a thousand camels infest their underwear for a year should keep them hopping around a bit.

Whoever has it, too bad suckers. It was protected more fiercely than my first girlfriend's virginity. My wife had it turned off within an hour. Nobody could get past my security code anyway. It's a useless three-year-old piece of obsolescence. I'm not sure who I'm more angry with, but it boils down to being my own fault. Never tempt people you don't know to be dishonest. Most times they surprise me; this time they let me down.

Let's see: this year I tried to cook a turkey still in its' plastic death shroud, lost three people very dear to me to pain and age, kicked off a rider because his feet stink about created a puke fest, and rode figuratively into yet another professional wall. It's been a helluva hard year. I've even (momentarily) considered ending the blog, but rolled through that one.

Perhaps I'm just tired. One thing's for sure though. I'm going to set an alarm on my phone to alert me at the end of each break to STOW THE DAMN BALL AND CHAIN! Perhaps then, I'll regain my electronic peace of mind.

Some "holdout" I am!


  1. I left mine in the bus a couple of weeks ago at the end of my shift—I was packing up and left it on the wheel well also (at least I’m pretty sure that’s where I left it—haha). I didn’t realize I was without it until I got home at 3am and had the same response you had. It must be something akin to losing a body part.

    This after leaving the damned thing in the bus shelter out in front of the garage a couple of months ago. Fortunately it was picked up by an honest neighbor and I had it back the next day. Not exactly batting a thousand here, either!

  2. I love how my first reaction is to call the place where I left it. (Nope.) Then to bitch about it on @Twitter. (Again, nope.)

  3. It's amazing how quickly I became addicted to the damn thing. I too tried to avoid the smart phone. I didn't even want a cell phone. Now I spend hours every day reading posts about nothing and feel deprived whenever I'm forced to spend a day without it.

    1. It's sad. Ever read Stephen King's book entitled "Cell?"

  4. I still have my Flip Phone to take on the boat. No plans to stand around like a zombie looking at a phone.