Monday, August 10, 2009

A mobile phone too mobile? -- or -- Not a ringing endorsement of the Curmudgeon's problem solving skills

It was a Sunday evening and my cell phone was on. That's unusual. I'm not worried... much... about being targeted by Predator drones homing in on my cell phone signal, but I usually don't keep the darn thing on.

It was even more unusual when the darn thing rang. I looked at the Caller ID before answering. It said Older Daughter was calling. I said, "Hello."

"This is Speedy Pizza in Broad Ripple calling," said the voice on the other end. I was in no mood for prank phone calls from my daughter and I was on the verge of upbraiding her on this point when it occurred to me that the voice I was hearing was not Older Daughter's.

It turned out that Older Daughter and her brand new husband were dining in this fine suburban Indianapolis establishment. Older Daughter's cell phone was left behind when the young couple departed but the restaurant staff quickly surmised that the instrument was not part of the intended tip.

"Dad," you see, comes before "Mom" in the Contacts List on the typical cell phone and the staff was hopeful that I would take steps to advise Older Daughter of the loss and how to reverse it.

Taking steps is what I do, I thought, so I was just the man to provide reassuring utterances to the young lady who called. Thanking her profusely, I disconnected the call and began figuring out what steps to take.

I scrolled down my own Contacts List, finding Older Daughter's name, and was on the point of pushing the call button when it occurred to me that I would only disturb the nice young lady in the pizza parlor. But did I have a phone number for my new son-in-law? I was not certain, but I was certain that Younger Daughter did.

I went in search.

Younger Daughter was in front of the house conversing with a girl from the neighborhood in the early evening quiet. This was the sort of thing they might have done at 12. In fact it was the sort of thing they did at 12. They have conversed in this way ever since, from time to time, and usually about the same subject, too, I'd bet (boys) although the particulars of their conversations may have changed somewhat in the intervening eight years. I probably don't want to know.

Younger Daughter blinked at me in surprise and suspicion when I came out of the front door. "What do you want?"

"Can you call your brother-in-law for me?"

"Why?" Suspicion had triumphed over surprise.

I explained the situation in a few well-chosen words.

"It won't work," said Younger Daughter.

This is a problem with young people these days, always so negative. But Younger Daughter explained that Older Daughter's husband seldom carried his cell phone on his person and, when he did, he seldom switched it on.

Now, ordinarily, as you have already picked up in the course of this essay, I would be heartily in favor of such an attitude. It is my own attitude toward cell phones. But I have a land line at my house that people can call; Older Daughter and her husband do not. It is the way the young people do things these days: Ma Bell will soon be sent to the Home for Obsolete Technologies along with the typewriter salesmen and the buggy whip makers.

I asked Younger Daughter to call anyway. I stood there while she left a message. She pushed the disconnect button and gave me an I-told-you-so look.

Dejected, I went back into the house.

Then I realized I had my son-in-law's email address. I could send him and Older Daughter both an email and that would alert them of the cell phone's fate! Filled with this new resolve I sat down at the computer and typed out a message... and received an almost instantaneous "out of office" response from my new son-in-law. He hadn't taken down the message since he'd returned from his honeymoon.

Still, I'm told, everything eventually worked out alright: Older Daughter figured out, on her own, where she must have left the phone and went back and retrieved it.

But I was almost helpful, wasn't I?


Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

i give you a+ for effort! and being able to think of that too!

smiles, bee

Cathy said...

I also give you and A+. My son and dil do not have a land line phone either. In their house they have 4 cell phones (son, dil, 19 yo grandson and 12 yo grand daughter) The only one without one is the 2 yo and he is not happy about it either. He thinks the solution is to take grandma's, which he tries to do every time I visit.

My memory is not what it once was. I find myself needing to remember 4 different ph. numbers to call various people who all live at the same address. But, that's not the half of it. Every single one of those 4 people want me to send them text messages rather than call them. Never mind that their phones have fancy full keyboards while I have to press 2-0 over and over to get one darn word written. How did all this become better than just dialing a phone number?

landgirl said...

Good intentions, Cur, always count for something!