• Paula Tiberius

Missed Signals

I lost my cell phone two nights ago. Has this ever happened to you? It’s happened to me before but I found the last one, wedged between the front seat and the door of the Matrix (rest in peace.) This time it was nowhere to be found in the rental Prius.

I was with my daughter at the playground and a chilly dusk was setting in. That Los Angeles chilly where some kids are in snow jackets and others are running around barefoot, and neither set of parents is declared insane. Violet wanted to stay, but her little nose was getting red and she hadn’t eaten in hours, so I made the executive mom decision to cut playtime early and go to Trader Joe’s to get some food. Not that we didn’t already have a full fridge from Thanksgiving. But you know how it is, you have Tupperware containers full of leftovers, but there’s no coffee or milk.

Anyway, I scooped her up, and as we were walking to the car, I could feel the familiar buzz in my pocket of someone texting me. We arrived at Trader Joe’s and it was crazy packed. I thought this was so weird since it was the Sunday night after thanksgiving. Was everyone out of coffee and milk? Even the overflow parking lot was overflowing.

I reached into my purse to call and complain to Richard – I mean, to make some kind of plan involving him feeling sorry for me alone with the kid unable to find a parking spot. But where was my phone? It had just buzzed five minutes earlier! I became instantly distraught, allowing my carefully crafted Zen serenity to fall by the wayside as I raced home. Not only was there no parking at Trader Joe’s, but I couldn’t even call anyone to complain about it! An outrage!

I acted cool though, when I got home. Richard was playing his friend some new songs he’d recorded and I’m all for supporting the arts. I wasn’t going to bust in there crying about my phone. Instead I rolled my eyes over the inconvenience and made an excellent plan to go to Trader Joe’s by myself and stop by the park to find my phone. Richard lent me his phone so that I could phone my phone all along the area in question, listening for its good ol’ ring. Which I did. And of course my voicemail picks up after four rings, so I actually had to call myself a dozen times in a row, staring down at the now-dark ground and flower beds along the side of the park as if they were going to light up and speak to me at any second. No such luck.

Later that night I canceled the service, shaking my head that my excellent plan didn’t solve this technological problem, but smug that no one was going to call Southeast Asia on my dime! I know how to cancel things immediately and not get ripped off!

Then the next morning I got up and realized there was a message on the home phone. The home phone! Why didn’t I think of that? Of course it was some guy named Tim or Jim at the park the afternoon before. He had found my cell phone and conveniently left it for me on a nearby picnic table. Richard went to check for me when he took the dog to the park, but there was no sign of it.

My new thing is to find humor in things without self-deprecation, but in this instance I couldn’t help myself. What a fucking idiot.

Stay tuned to find out about my replacement phone, which, like my replacement rental car, is catapulting me into a new income bracket of gadgets.

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