Start fluttering out of my handbag.
Today wasn't bad. I was awakened at 3 AM by thunder and lightning, and the cat jumping on and off the bed. When I finally went back to sleep, I was two Benadryl to the wind and feeling like my head was about to explode from the rapid changes in air pressure; the noise from the thunder didn't help. Once I managed to drag myself out of bed, I was reminded that we had a lunch invitation to a place I've never even heard of. Oh, and it's two hours away and we're supposed to be there at noon. We left at 10:30, which makes it hard to cover two hours of distance and get where I need to be by the time I'm supposed to be there. But never mind the technical problems.
Getting there was fine. Kim was kind enough to provide very detailed directions, so finding the house was no problem. Lunch was great, the goats were great (Kim and her husband have two little Nigerian pygmy goats named Peanut and Jack. Such cute little fellows!), and the tour of the house and grounds was also great. We left around 4, with a bag of tomatoes and a camera full of pictures of butterflies and baby goats.
It wasn't until I got home that I realized something was missing. My cell phone. Not that it's anything super-cool like a Treo, or anything super-expensive like an I-Phone. But it is how I communicate with my relatives and friends and acquaintances. Where could it possibly be? I ransacked the car, my handbag, my knitting bag, mom's handbag, and the trash can in the car. No sign of anything more interesting than an orange peel, a business card from some retired FBI fellow who now runs a teddy bear store, an empty soda bottle, and some paper towels full of pollen from wiping the windows. Hm. Time to panic.
Then I remembered mom sitting on it when we got into the car to come home. No biggie. She sat on my keys, too, and when she got up to fish out my keys, both the keys and the cell went flying in opposite directions. While I was busy searching in the car, mom suggested I call Kim to see if the phone flew out of the car and ended up in their driveway. So I went back in the house and realized I didn't have Kim's phone number because it was in my cell phone, which was who knew where.
"Try the caller ID in the phone in the house."
Of course. Silly me.
Kim was kind enough to go outside to search her driveway for my delinquent phone, and was most apologetic when it didn't turn up. By this point, I was starting to get even more upset. What if some unscrupulous person finds it in a gas station parking lot and starts making salacious phone calls to my parents? Oh, no... what if some unscrupulous person finds it in a gas station parking lot and makes salacious phone calls to my friends? Since the phone was going directly to voice mail, that means it must be somewhere in the wilds of Virginia... Oh, no.. what if one of the goat's ate it? They eat everything. Is a pygmy goat too small to eat a cell phone?
Now, don't think I'm such a technophile that I can't live without my cell phone or MP3 player. The former doesn't get enough use to even make a dent in the measly 450 minutes I get a month, and it certainly isn't turning into an extra organ. The latter is stuffed with vintage radio shows like X Minus 1 and The Whistler, and it's sitting downstairs with my spinning wheel. I'm not enough of a Luddite to be able to completely give up these luxuries, but at the same time...
Mom, evil facilitator that she is, said, "Well, you've been thinking about getting a new phone anyway...."
So I grumbled, fumed, grabbed my bag, and hopped back into the car to drive like a bat out of hell for the nearest place I might find a replacement for The Delinquent. I arrived at the mall, which was about to close for the night--it took us three hours to get home because I had a couple of false starts which required turning around and scrutinizing the directions before I figured out that I had to go north on this road instead of south on that one, stormed through the mezzanine, and finally found the appropriate kiosk. And there was no one there. Argh. Time is of the essence! Some villain is probably making obscene phone calls while I'm standing here!
When someone finally arrived who was capable of answering my questions, I fixed him with my version of a steely glare--not convincing, considering that I was grubby, smelled of goat, needed a shower, and was shaking from a mix of adrenaline and need for dinner, and announced that I required a replacement for The Delinquent.
"We don't do that here, ma'am," was the reply.
"Then kindly direct me to someone who does," I snapped.
I was crabby. I admit it. But adrenaline and a sugar crash aren't things that, when combined, are conducive to someone being all smiles and sunshine.
"Try Radio Shack."
I said a terse "Thank you", turned around, and made my way to that very place, where I was greeted by no less than three sales associates. To make a long story slightly shorter, I was appalled to discover that the phone I'd paid $10 for when I signed my original contract was now more expensive than the phone I now have. My needs are modest. I don't need a phone that doubles as a Swiss Army knife and does windows and taxes on alternate Tuesdays. I don't really need a camera built in, and I certainly don't need e-mail or Internet service. Just give me something with decent sound quality, decent battery life, and NOT PINK! So one of the three directed me to the so-called lower end of the row of phones. I was not at all amused that the low-ish end meant $300.
I thought about it, snorted at the "Ladies and gentlemen, the mall will be closing in ten minutes" announcement, and said I'd take that one. No, I don't want the sixteen vacuum attachments that come with it. I. Just. Want. The. Phone. Thank you.
The young man who handled my order assured me that the old phone would be deactivated as soon as the new one was activated, thus ensuring that no obscene phone calls would be made to my friends and family.
I paid for my purchase, signed the papers, and bolted for the parking lot. By the time I got home, I was considerably calmer. And then it hit me: I've just paid an exhorbitant amount of money for a piece of plastic that beeps, flashes pretty colors, and makes vaguely musical sounds in response to communications from similar pieces of plastic owned by other people. Argh!
When I locked the door and turned around, my knitting bag was on the floor. And next to it, also on the floor, was a suspiciously familiar piece of red plastic. The Delinquent! Triple ARGH!
My one consolation is that it's not lost in the wilds of Virginia, at the mercy of a goat or some villainous person bent on making obscene phone calls while my account creeps closer and closer to three digits and two decimal places. I'll be donating The Delinquent to the nearest women's shelter... and trying not to feel too sheepish for spending more than half an hour looking everywhere but the most obvious place... and trying not to feel too sheepish for ending up with a nice, shiny, blue piece of plastic.