“Call us when you’re ready to be picked up.” I called out in a loving, motherly sort of voice as I dropped the oldest off to work on a history presentation at a friend’s house.
“On what?” he snapped back. “I don’t have a cell phone.”
I took a deep breath. I seem to be doing a lot of that these days. Being the mother of a 17 year old isn’t all its cracked up to be. “I’m sure Brendan will let you use his home phone. All you have to do is ask.” I said sweetly.
“You’ve got to be kidding me. That’s so embarrassing.”
Yep. That’s certainly number one on my embarrassment radar. I would never be caught dead using a home phone. How gauche.
“You so don’t understand,” he said, shaking his head and giving me a look that has the ability to make me want to put him on plane to parts unknown.
“Just call us when you’re done,” I repeated in a slightly less than loving motherly sort of way. “On second thought,” I said under my breath so no one but the dog could hear me, “Maybe you can just stay there… I’m sure Brendan’s mother would be more than happy to take care of another moody, perpetually hungry, demanding, forgetful, self absorbed and only occasionally charming teenager for a while.”
Yes. You read that right. My son doesn’t have a cell phone.
He did. Several of them. Four or five, in fact. At this point I’ve completely lost track.
I was reticent. Being the over-protective mother that I am, I resisted the demands that began when he was still in elementary school. Hard as it was, I did not fall prey to the barrage of “reasons” why a then 12 year old was in dire need of the small, hand held portable device that most of his classmates were in possession of. I am, as my son likes to remind me, a bit “behind the times.”
But then high school came around and we decided to revisit the issue. He was a freshman, after all, and would be staying late for things like sports and the like and it would be good to be able to get a hold of him when we needed to. So, a few weeks before school began, we marched into the local cell phone store and began our adventure into cell phone hell.
The first one lasted less than a month. Apparently cell phones and chocolate milk do not go well together. It seems cell phone # 1 met its demise when a carton of Hershey’s, intended for a lunchtime beverage, exploded without warning leaving behind a wake of destruction.
Cell phone #2 took a swim in the washing machine just a few weeks later. Stuffed in the pocket of a pair of very smelly jeans, it didn’t survive the dip. After several failed attempts to rescusitate it, the poor thing was laid to rest in the nearby cell phone burial ground.
#3? Well, that was a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. It seems that the front pocket of a backpack stuffed with various and sundry books, papers, pens and pencils doesn’t provide enough protection for such a highly sophisticated piece of technology, especially when said backpack doubles as a soccer ball for an impromptu game of soccer with some rogue classmates.
We’re still not sure what happened to # 4, but we did find out one thing. A cell phone is completely useless if the screen is cracked. How it got cracked when NO ONE dropped it is still a mystery. However, it’s virtually impossible to dial numbers when you don’t know who you’re calling (although when I was a kid, back in the days when dinosaurs roamed the earth, that used to be kind of fun. Prank calls, we called it. “Do you have Prince Albert in a can?” we would giggle, so proud of our ingenuity.) But alas, I digress.
Somewhere along the line, someone told me about insurance. Insurance. Now there’s a racket if I ever saw one. You pay a monthly fee to allow you the opportunity to buy another at a mere $50. Now that’s a deal if I ever heard of one. There’s only one glitch. After two phones, you’re no longer insurable.
Thank you. Bye bye.
Right before the holidays, #5 came up missing. Walked away on its own, I suspect. Calls were placed, emails sent, searches occurred. Heck, I would have plastered a picture of the thing on milk cartons if I thought it would help. This was getting ridiculous. #5. Gone. Just like that.
Call me old fashioned. Call me behind the times. Call me old school. There’s something to be said for the good old days when phones were attached to the wall. They never got lost. They never cracked. They never lost a battle with a carton of chocolate milk. And to my knowledge, my mother managed to make it through my entire childhood without ever once finding our phone swimming at the bottom of the washing machine.
And yes, today I called to order #6. Because despite his belief to the contrary, I really do understand.