My whole life was in that phone. I panicked. My son was supposed to come home the following day and now I had no communication, cut off from reaching his house. I leaped out of the car looking under the front seat, in between the console and the seat, repeat look on the passenger side; nothing. I checked my pockets; empty. I know, I’ll call my friend. I can’t call her; I can’t call anyone! I jumped back in the car, threw it in drive and headed out for Mish’s house. Scenarios bubbled up in my brain of lost communication with my son’s group home, my elderly mom, text messages, emails; I was silenced. All lines of communication halted. I pulled up to her house, she was at her mailbox. She couldn’t see me with my blinding headlights shining in her face. I rolled down my window. I was shaking, “Mish, it’s me” I yelled, “I lost my phone! Can you come with me back to the beach to find it? I don’t want to go there alone in the dark.” Being the good friend that she is, she got in her car without further questions and followed me out onto the main road. We had just left the beach only a short fifteen minutes ago and now it was pitch dark; you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face. How would I ever find a black phone in a beach parking lot that had no lights? I was doomed. Two minutes into our journey I hear familiar music; it’s my phone! I immediately pull over, frantically following the sound, searching for it in the dark. There it was on my tiny dashboard, blending in with the dark gray console. I couldn’t see it in the dark. Mish pulled over behind me. Spotlighted by only her headlights, I stood on the side of the road, my car still running with the door wide open. I held up the phone, “I found it! It was on my dashboard!” We came close enough to talk, but kept our social distance with masks in place. “My girls always call my number when I can’t find my phone” she said “so I thought I’d give it a try and call you.” I gestured a virtual hug. “Thank you SO MUCH!!”
My phone had been found. I felt the tension leave my body as I drove back home. My thoughts drifted. When did I start depending so much on a phone? Growing up there were no cell phones. Our phone was at home, it hung on the wall in the kitchen. You had to actually be home to use it. There were no answering machines, no messages, no emails to answer. Where did we spend all that time if not on our phone? How did we manage our lives? It’s mind boggling to think about.
Hidden in the dark of the unseen, my phone seemed to disappear and with it took my lifeline to the world. Clearly, it was a sign from the universe demanding my attention. A push to take notice of the power I give away to this small device. A tap on my shoulder to take pause, rethink how I respond to its pings and rings. Begging the question: do I use it or does it use me?