Saturday, April 19, 2003

LOST: Cell phone
by Jessica Delfino

I lost my cell phone the other week. I can’t believe I did that. I spent about an hour late one evening last week tracing every step I took, over and over in my mind. Did I leave it at the late night burrito shack that I visited with my friend after smoking a joint on the street in Union Square? That would’ve made sense, I was stoned and hungry. I imagined myself leaving it on the table and just walking away from it, leaving it there like a child to fend for itself. I know it’s just a cell phone but that thought made me rag on myself for days about the kind of mother I might someday make. After all, I am my mother’s daughter. But I digress. Had I put it on the tray o’ trash and dumped it into the garbage can? Would I do something so stupid? All the times I’d hitch hiked here or there which had been asleep in my memories awoke at that moment, and banded together as a chorus, pointing markedly at yes. Yes, I would do something so stupid. But really, would I have done something THAT stupid? I think I already answered, yes.

I walked down 2nd avenue and across 9th st. towards 1st ave where I would catch the bus. My friend and I talked about bills or boys. Did I remember a mysterious clanking sound behind us at one point while we were walking? Could that have been my phone spilling out onto the sidewalk and shattering into two pieces – phone shell and battery? I imagined a homeless person finding the phone and feeling like he’d just won the lottery. If that were the case, I was unexpectedly shoved into the ‘they’ in that situation. As in, “I don’t know, I guess “they’re” leaving phones around the city for us to use,” or, “Well, “they” ain’t never done nothing for me, so I’m keeping this shit.”

At 1st ave, we parted ways, kissing on the cheek in New York fashion. I crossed the street and made my way up towards the corner of 14th St. to get the bus. I waited for a bit. I think I remembered feeling my cell phone in the flimsy pocket of my satin jacket. When I bought that jacket on sale at Urban Outfitters, I knew that the pockets were going to do something unspeakable to me someday. Still, in the name of shame, I bought it anyway.

I boarded the bus and sat in the corner. I took out my notebook and began writing some jokes. I looked around the bus at a few late night couples, cruising uptown to go do it in their tiny studio apartments. I saw a smelly man flipping out over some pictures in a magazine. A fat lady and her friend watched him, making “that guy is nuts!” facial expressions at each other. When my stop came, I was so engrossed in joke writing, I missed it. I jumped up in time to see it fly by and pushed the strip to stop at the next closest stop. The bus came to a screeching halt and I almost fell over. I regained my composure and pranced off the bus, into the cool air surrounding the street.

I felt in my pocket to check the time. Cell phone – gone. I felt in my other pocket. I searched in my purse, but then I stopped. I didn’t even have to do that. I knew it was gone. My purse felt strangely different without the cell phone’s slim, rectangular shape clanking around among lipsticks and notebooks. I sighed a stoned sigh of defeat and slowly stumbled back to my 17-story walk up apartment.

When I got in, I dumped my purse out on the floor to confirm what I already knew. “I lost my cell phone,” I told my fiancé. “Aw,” he said. “Come here. Take your pants off.”
That’s one thing I love about him. When things were sucky, he always did know how to make himself feel better.

“They” sent me a new phone. It came in the mail in 3-5 business days. I ripped the package open like a junkie and spilled the contents out onto the floor. I sat on my knees, almost ritualistically sliding the battery into the phone shell. They sent me an extra charger, too. I hadn’t lost my charger. Now I have two. One for trips.

My phone came turned on and ready to go. I just had to unlock it using a special code. But I didn’t make any calls, all day long yesterday. Nor did my cell phone ring. I didn’t get back into the cell phone swing of things until last night. As I was exiting the L train to walk over to Level X to do the Comedy Kabob, my cell phone made it’s familiar peaking and falling tinkle, to indicate that I had messages.

As I pressed the voice mail button, I felt myself simultaneously falling back in line with the personal technological advancements we have today to be thankful for.

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