Although I have a website, a LinkedIn page, a Facebook personal page, a Facebook biz page, a Twitter account and a blog, I am still somewhat of a closet Luddite when it comes to certain technology. One night in 2011 was a good example of how it catches up with me.
I had been enjoying a sensual dream about my mother’s baked stuffed artichokes, soft hearts oozing with Pastene’s olive oil and generous chunks of garlic. I woke suddenly to the sound of my dog barking.
That sound—kind of like an electronic sound, maybe. I raised my head up immediately and sniffed the air, while the dog continued to bark.
Yes, it was a faint electronic sound occurring at a regular interval. Smoke alarm wearing out its battery? Better check.
I got up and started my patrol of our one-floor ranch. Jean came out of her nightly coma to mumble, “Let the dog out—it must be the bear in the back yard again,” and then went back to sleep.
It became a game of hot/cold. As I wandered from room to room, the faint sound either got louder or faded. Just in case, I checked the basement also, but the heat went on and blotted out any other sound.
Now I’m getting frustrated. I open the door to the room the dog sleeps in, and he comes bounding out and glues all 80 lbs. of himself to the rug beside Jean in the bedroom, which wakes her up again. “Whaaaahmmmm?”
“Go back to sleep; I’ve got it.” (Not really. My heart is jack-hammering and my hands are sweating.)
Not wanting to wake Jean, I turn on only one light and creep through the house, trying not to bump into things or step on the cat, who is now spooked as well and following me everywhere.
I check the computer closely, as it sometimes talks when it’s unhappy, but that’s not it. In the dark, my entire home is a field of fireflies, little lights winking and glowing on the phones, the clocks, the VCR, the TV, the modem, the stove, the coffee pot that still needs cleaning, the smoke alarms, the CO2 alarm . . .
THERE IT IS—I am right next to the sound! I raise the living room shade and stare into a large round yellow light glaring at me from the street. My heart skitters to a stop. The cat runs and hides under the futon.
OK, no, not a UFO . . . just the reflection in the window of the one light I turned on.
Suddenly, a series of soft musical notes plays. Right in front of me, from my pocketbook. The sexy Verizon melody of a cell phone shutting itself down.
I fish it out and see that the battery is dead and the beeping sound has stopped.
I’ve been a bad mother. I haven’t charged it for weeks. I haven’t even used it since we first moved here and didn’t have a phone. I bought it only for emergencies, not even using it for business purposes in case I got that all-important call from a client and hit a dead zone at the same time. But, I am afraid to shut it off, so it lives at the bottom of my pocketbook, feeding on lint. I check the messages once a month and find wrong numbers, text ads from car dealers, and an occasional (probably former) friend who forgot I don’t take incoming calls on my cell and left me a message by mistake. I hate it. I hate it, I hate it, I hate it.
I plugged the phone into its charger and patted it. “OK, you win this time,” I admitted.
Times have changed for me since that night. I have become much braver and purchased a smartphone. Instead of “booping,” it has a lovely little chime, and I charge it every night. It pays me back for this good care by letting me get to the Internet and check the weather. Ah, the wonders of technology.
(Dedicated to my sister-in-law Julia, who still, bless her heart, has a rotary phone.)
© 2012, 2014 Fran Fahey