Wednesday, October 18, 2006


For Christmas last year, I got my mom a cell phone on a Family Plan, even though it's just the two of us. I was tired of worrying about her driving around in an old Ford Explorer, which should really be called Exploder; people outside of L.A. don't really seem to worry about having things like AAA, which is essential in CA as if you break down, people will definitely shoot you, or if you're lucky, just swerve around your corpse. I once saw a road worker very nonchalantly placing an orange cone next to a runover guy's head. Seriously.

Besides, she really needs to be able to call Grandma in the grocery store when she gets lost on her motorized scooter, because H-E-B is fucking huuuge and Grandma is like Speed Racer on that thing.

Hence, the cell phone.

I introduced them politely, if a bit condescendingly. "Mom, this is a phone."

I adore my mom. She is not a stupid woman by any means; she's a lot better than me at a lot of things, like math, and balancing checkbooks, and wearing clean underwear, and just about everything else, but...I guess I was hoping she'd understand that the cell phone is just a scaled down, portable version of a regular phone.

Unfortunately, she still doesn't seem to have quite grasped that concept. So I entered every relevant number I could find in my aunt's phone into Mom's phone, and then put those on speed dial, thinking that would fix her wagon. But not quite...

Not long after Christmas I asked, since long-distance on the cell phone is essentially free, if she's used it to call and catch up with any of her out-of-state friends.


"Why not?"

"Because...how do you call numbers that aren't in the phone...?"

"It's a phone, Mom. You can call whatever numbers you want...you just have to dial like you would on a regular phone, and then hit Sen...uh, hit the green button. See, green means 'go'."


Then, recently, she thought she'd lost it. I told her not to worry, that I wasn't upset, but had she retraced her steps? Had she tried calling the phone to see if she could hear it ring somewhere?


"Why not?"

"Because...I don't know what the number is."

"You don't know the number? For your own phone?!"

So I gave it to her. Then I said, "haven't you ever tried checking your messages from a landline?"

"No. Why would I do that?"

"To save your minutes...or, to see if anyone called and said, hey, lady. You left your phone."


"Why don't you do that, now that you have the number. Just call yourself, and when the voice mail message starts, hit the star key and enter your password."

"Oh...what's my password?"


"No...well, I've got it written down in the little booklet, let me find it..."

Just then, the cat came flying out of the recycling bin, tumping it over, and guess what fell out...?

That was almost as much fun as the time my grandma thought my cell phone ring was kittens I was smuggling into the hospital in my purse.


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