You'd think something might have changed while I was away the past few months. With all that free time spent not writing, I should have been able to pick up a skill or two. You'd think I'd emerge from my hiatus a new and better man -- wiser, craftier, savvier.
Yeah. You'd think.
Meanwhile, back on our own planet...
Yesterday, after I'd made up my mind to resurrect this little den of drivel, I drove over to a local pool hall for league night. Just as I was parking, my old roommate from college called. He was on a business trip, watching my favorite college hoops team on TV, and decided to give me a call to
rub it in that they were down seven points at halftime at home to a team whose mascot is a goddamned arachnid reminisce.
Aw. How sweet. Sort of.
I sat in the car and chatted with him for awhile, until it was league time. As we wrapped up the call, I instinctively patted my pockets to make sure all the usual pants suspects were present and accounted for:
Back right pocket: wallet, check!
Front right pocket: keys... not there. Oh, but they're in the ignition. Of course. Check.
Front and center: everybody's home, zipper all the way up, checkamundo.
Front left pocket: cell phone.... missing. Shit. Where the hell did I leave the cell phone?
As my friend and I said our goodbyes (yes, that's right, over the phone, I know you can see it coming and there's nothing I can do now to hide it), I mentally walked through when I'd seen the phone last.
'I had it when I left the house this morning... played with it during the staff meeting, yep... three hour bathroom break to play tetris, and then... oh, right -- I had to plug it in to recharge the battery. Oh dear lord, my phone's still at the office!'
Thank the gods I have the one feeble brain cell still churning, or I'd have said all that out loud. Which means the end of our conversation would have gone something like this:
Me: Sorry buddy, I've got to run. I just realized I left my phone at work.
Him: Okay, sure-- wait. Your phone?
Me: Yeah, and it's new, too. I'd hate to lose it.
Him: Your cell phone, we're talking about?
Me: Right. I've really got to go and look for it, pronto.
Him: Dude. How the hell did you ever make it out of freshman year?
"You ever seen a neuron commit seppuku? It's not pretty."
As it was, it took me another full minute or so to realize that the phone wasn't in my pocket because, obviously, it was in my stupid hand. Another few seconds and I would have had the unenviable dilemma of trying to put the car back in gear to go find my cell phone while figuring out where to put my cell phone so I could drive.
And I don't think that last brain cell would have stood for that. You ever seen a neuron commit seppuku? It's not pretty.
In my defense, all I can say is that last night is one of the first times in the month I've had my new phone that I've actually used it as a phone. It's one of those fancy new Googly doohickeys, and though I use it for plenty of other nonsense on a daily basis, it's rare that I make the actual wireless talky-talky on it. So I was as surprised as anyone to discover that the phone missing from my pocket was, in fact, plastered to my cheek. What a novel concept.
Come to think of it, I'm a little surprised that I have the phone in the first place. I'm not exactly what you call an 'early adopter' of new technology. I had the mobile phone it replaced for a number of years -- it was a rotary-dial model and the size of a small doghouse, if that tells you anything. The phone before that, I picked up cheap sometime in the Cenezoic era; if the string hadn't broken completely off the tin can handset, I probably would have never traded it in.
But the draw of the Googly phone was too much; I bought it the very day it went on sale. Changed carriers to get it, too.
(Technically -- this is merely technically, now, understand -- but technically, I 'camped out' to get it.
Which means I accidentally showed up twenty minutes before the store opened and had to wait in line behind some Asian kid and his mom, a gaggle of RenFaire rejects and a guy whose nickname at some point in his life, I'm certain, was 'Jughead'. And probably still is.
Rubbing shoulders with royalty, I was. And I wonder why I don't 'camp out' for things more often.)
Anyway, the thing that really drew me to this phone is how open it is. Without getting into all of the mumbo jumboterica, the key is that people who want to write nifty little programs for it can have access to just about anything they want. The address book. The GPS. Wireless connections. Credit card numbers. Your DNA sequence. Pretty much everything.
And what a load off an already-taxed mind, let me tell you. Oh sure, they said at the store, this little baby doesn't do anything now. Nothing at all, really, but sit there and look not-nearly-pretty-enough-for-some-picky-people. But some day... some day Real Soon Now™, the world will be your cell phone's oyster.
You want to surf the web? You got it. Pinpoint on a map where someone's calling from? They'll figure out a way. Play a nice game of Global Thermonuclear War? Greetings, Dr. Falken.
Why, in the not-so-distant future, they said, you'll be able to program this system to ring an alarm to wake you in the morning, bring you Eggos and juice in bed, and toss a pair of fresh underpants in the dryer to warm to your liking.
(Of course, you'll need a hardware upgrade for that last bit of functionality. And additional carrier charges may apply, if your laundry room happens to be in a roaming area.
Also, I'd probably get the phone with a software glitch, and wind up with my Fruit of the Looms covered in syrup and wrinkly waffles stuffed down my pants. And I've long said I'm never letting that happen. Again. Not after the Great Denny's Fiasco of '06.)
So I suppose my mistake was not thinking of my phone as an actual phone. I should really write myself a note to remind me of that. Hey, maybe the phone has some program that can help.
Now where the hell did I leave that damned thing this time?