The day without a cell phone

This post could also be titled, “How technology ruined me” or “Technology dumbed me down to nearly helpless. What should I do?!” Do you know what happens when you leave your cell phone charging at home and leave for the day? I do. It isn’t pretty.

On Thursday, I went through my normal hectic morning routine getting myself and Zahara fed, dressed, and in the car with coffee in hand (me) and empty bladder (the kid) and ON TIME! I was feeling mighty impressed with myself, pointing out Mr. Sun to my baby and driving us to her Gymboree class. (Yes, I am a Gymboree mom. But don’t judge me. You know me. I’m not evil. I’m not uptight or uppity. I’m just one of the many normal ones who week after week, for the sake of our kids, must face the evil, $125 velour tracksuit-wearing, thin as a rail because their kids have nannies and they have trainers, nose permanently stuck in the air, your kid’s wearing THAT?!, stereotypical Gymboree mothers. And honestly, there are more of US than THEM so I think we can take ’em!)

Anyway, so I get to Gymboree, go through the songs and slides and activities, get us back to the car with empty coffee cup (me) and empty bladder again (Zahara, of course. Potty training is sooo much fun!) and reach into the diaper bag where I usually keep my IPhone, still feeling pretty good about myself. Nothing, nada, oh no, picture of my phone connected to its charger and nestled in the covers of my unmade bed pops into my mind (priorities, people. It was either make the bed or be ON TIME. On time is a big draw for always semi-late me.)

Now, the past six weeks had seen me chugging coffee while performing awe-worthy mom feats of skill getting Zahara from Gymboree to swimming class 20 minutes away within a half hour time span. If you’re a parent, you know that this deserves at least a standing ovation. Preparing two different bags of baby stuff, one for each activity, switching swimsuit for onesie and swim diapers for Pull-ups, AND having enough time for toddler to pee in toilet AND get Gymbo the clown stamped on her hand AND getting coats, shoes, and outer layers of clothing off and on at Gymboree and off again at swimming AND driving within the speed limit to get 20 minutes away within 20 minutes……hell, just stand up and cheer for me already. :~)

I was doing all this because my baby girl went through two terrible individual swimming classes in which she screamed and cried for me the whole time. So I freaked out, had a moment of intense mommy guilt and then came up with a solution: Mommy and me swimming lessons. Only, those classes were only available right after Zahara’s Gymboree so off we went for six exhausting weeks.

But this past Thursday, thank God, was the first of a new schedule for swimming so I could finally relax. I even planned to go to a showing of Hunger Games at a local mall that offers bring-your-own-baby viewing experiences every few weeks. That may be why I was so proud of myself. Until I reached in that diaper bag…

The drive from Gymboree to the movie went something like this:

I could go home and get the phone, but then I’ll miss the movie. Or I’ll get a speeding ticket if I try to get home, up the stairs to my phone, back to the car and to the movies on time.

Somebody’s probably trying to call me…or text me…or panicking because I’m not answering. They’re sending out a search party and I’m just la-de-da on my way to a movie!

Oh, God what time is it?! I sometimes wear a watch but it’s just for show. None of my watches even work because I didn’t bother to change the batteries because I always check my IPhone, but now I don’t have it and how am I supposed to tell ti- oh, okay, wait there’s a CLOCK in the car. Was that always there?

But wait, oh, God, what is the date?! It doesn’t say that in the car. Isn’t this car supposed to have an internal computer thingie? My IPhone gives me a whole calendar! How the hell am I going to go through my day not knowing what DATE it is?!!

Somebody is definitely calling me. My sister, probably. Or my mom. They’re going to worry and then they’re going to start crying and then they’ll start driving around back and forth from Gymboree because I didn’t tell anybody I was taking Zahara to a movie afterwards because I was going to call them after her class but I can’t because I DON’T HAVE A CELL PHONE!!!

Okay, okay I NEED a pay phone. Where the heck did all the pay phones go? No one uses a pay phone anymore, dammit because everyone’s got their own phone…but oh, I know, there are some pay phones right by the entrance to the movie theater. Okay! Yes, I am brilliant. I have a plan! I will get there fast, call my sister who can text or call everyone who needs to know that I am the loser who forgot my cell phone at home and I’m alive, I’m okay, I’m just going to go catch a movie- yeah, if I have enough time to get there, make the call, buy tickets, buy snacks, and get to my seat- whatever, I am amazing. I can do this!

I can’t do this. I don’t have change! I HATE change. The coins are so noisy and they get stuck in my wallet pocket and I can never find the amount I want at the time I need it and so I always take it out- oh oh, wait, I do have change! Thank God Zahara wanted to go on that whirring, beeping, going nowhere fast kiddie ride that annoys the hell out of me!

Okay, wait. Question: The Baby Pictures program IS actually today at noon, right? I’m not heading to a showtime with old couples who are going to get royally pissed because I dared to bring a baby, no even worse, a TODDLER to a movie, am I?! I don’t have my schedule. It would tell me if today is the right day. I write everything in that handy reminders app, but-

Dammit I need my phone. Maybe I can get another driver’s attention and ask to please, pretty please, borrow their smart phone for just a second while I check the date- and time, because did I actually “spring forward” on the car clock when I didn’t even know the car had a clock?- and if they let me have another second with their technological lifeline I could text my sister and Google the movie and- hell, who’s going to give me their cell phone? They need it as much as I do.

Speaking of driving, am I going the right way? I have a navigation app on my IPhone that works really well, better than this damn car’s navigation, and I could’ve checked it at the next red light if I’d remembered to grab my phone from my bed this morning.

Why, why, why didn’t I charge it overnight? I could’ve slept two minutes less and gotten up to plug it into the wall, but I was lazy! I HAD to wait until morning and now look at me!

Okay, yes this is the right way. Look at me, I can actually navigate by myself! Who knew?

Thank God, the theater. Let me get there quick and count my change and- what do you mean it now costs 50 cents for a local call? Last time I used a pay phone it was 25 cents!

Okay, a quarter, a dime, some nickels…come out of that tiny, zippered pocket coins and serve your purpose.

Come to think of it, the last time I used a pay phone it DID cost less so maybe I’m not interpreting this sign correctly? I could put the coins in after I dial, right? That used to work, didn’t it? Then the little automated lady will tell me how much it cos- what do you mean I have to deposit coins FIRST? Just tell me how many?!

Okay, no time. 50 cents it is.

Damn coins, why do you keep coming back?!

Okay, hurry, second of only two pay phones anywhere near me. This better wor- oh, you have got to be kidding me.

Collect call or no collect call? My sister will accept the call, right? And she won’t hate me, she can’t hate me, for the cost to her because this is an emergency! I forgot my cell phone!!

She didn’t pick up. Voicemail. Talk over the automated voice lady asking her if she accepts the call, and hope little sister can hear me and listens to this message soon and people aren’t worrying and out searching and talk louder, dammit, that automated lady is so annoying- beeeeeep.

Did the message go through? What time is it? Forget it, I’m going to the movie and hopefully that voicemail is audible and maybe they didn’t notice I’m not home yet and did the movie already begin?

Movie. Breathe. Relax. I don’t need to know who’s tweeting what and if there’s email or what my Words with Friends move is going to be. Just Enjoy The Movie.

OH MY GOD! How am I going to enjoy the movie? In addition to everything I’m trying NOT to think about, what in God’s name is going to do the job of the YouTube favorites kiddie videos that were going to entertain Zahara so I could feed her lunch and get her to sit still and so I could actually watch the movie?!!

Zahara fell asleep on the car ride home. I got to my IPhone and I held it to my chest and I swore I would never let it out of my sight again and I was so, so sorry for having forgotten it and would it ever forgive me. And as I rolled it over and over in my hand, feeling every angle and button with my fingertips and caressing the touch screen longingly, an odd feeling came over me and my skin withered and I hunched over and I rasped out in a scary, high-pitched voice “My precioussssss!”

Okay, no, that didn’t really happen. But it could have. The day I had without my cell phone? Oh, it certainly could have.

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