Is it a sign of mounting insanity if I say I can’t share a room with a cell phone?
I mean: cell phones. Small, electronic gadgets greatly prized by parents for their tracking capabilities that also record video, take photos, play music, surf the web, play games, remind you of your appointments, receive calls from all the people you don’t wish to talk to (usually at the most inopportune moment like when your mouth is full of food, you’re sitting in the middle of a crowded theater on a Friday night, or blissfully standing in the shower wasting all the water the planet absolutely can’t afford to waste) and occasionally allow you to place a call if that mysterious thing called a “network” is so inclined. Those things.
The ones that have precisely two advantages as I see it: one, they eliminate the need for an alarm clock; two, if you’re ever being stalked by someone in a car (honestly, how many times have you sat through a movie like Cape Fear, etc and wondered, “Why don’t you just use the fucking cell phone, morons?” before remembering that this movie was made back in the days when humankind was using smoke signals or whatever it was that The Ancients used to communicate – flags? megaphones? I dunno.) or a darkened alley, etc. you can immediately call the police. In all probability you’ll be dead by the time help arrives but hey! at least you’ll have the satisfaction that you did something!
In a generous mood (something I’m in less and less these days due to a lack of sleep) I might even stretch that an extra couple of points: three, you’re not obliged to carry around spare change to use on filthy public telephones which you’ll hold as far away from your ear as possible in case it carries strangers’ cooties; and four, connection is a matter of you walking into a store and pushing in a little chip, not sitting around for hours or days for someone to come poke into various points in your wall before sadly informing you that your phone can only be connected on the most inconvenient point possible because the wall jack gremlins have apparently established a colony from which they will not be ousted in the one that you have picked out.
“But the previous tenant / owner / roommate / person had their phone plugged in right there in that exact spot!” you complain, outraged.
At which the phone person shakes his head, mutters something about rewiring the entire building to satisfy your unreasonable demands and how it’s going to take a year and one million dollars to do it all and then looks reproachfully at you, selfish, selfish you.
“All right,” you say, defeated. You don’t wish to be that bitch in Apartment 13M who insisted on breaking down the whole building, bankrupting the owners and driving their poor children into Dickensian workhouses, just for the pleasure of seeing the damn phone occupy the nook it was clearly meant to occupy. You vent your feelings instead by glaring at the phone every time you pass it by, sitting prettily atop your refrigerator.
I’ve never been one of those people who give their cell phones a nickname and obsessively love it as though it’s their first crush in high school and it has a reputation of putting out when properly stroked, but if you’re not a big fan of people coming in to tinker around your house (and I am not!) then the experience of hooking up a landline is enough to make you fall in love with cell phones. No matter how painless, a cell phone is always the easier option – unless, of course, you’re an agoraphobic.
Thus: the cell phone. Plug it in anywhere, use it anywhere and put it anywhere – except for the bedroom, that is.
Maybe I’m one of those people with electronic forcefields or something (is that what they call it?) and it interferes with whatever the cell phone is radiating (I’m really not up on the terminology) but I simply can’t go to sleep in a room with a cell. I toss and turn all night, and then my head threatens a migraine the whole of the next day.
At first, I thought maybe hiding it would be the solution. So I cleverly placed it out of sight in the bottom shelf of my bedside table. My head was made of cotton wool the next day.
Loath to give up my handy alarm clock (the only thing I like about that damn thing other than its looks – yes, I’m shallow when it comes to electronics! I don’t care how beautiful its inner circuitry is, I just want the pretty), I next shoved it under the clothes that I tend to leave overnight on the armchair next to my bed. I got some sleep… and heartburn of all things.
So then I took it outside the room and left it in the living room.
A little too much peace. I woke a whole hour late and it caused more problems than a headache would have.
Sigh. Before I ask for the happy pills, maybe I ought to shop for a decent alarm clock? I don’t want it to make soothing ocean sounds or mimic wind whistling through woods at midnight or wake me up on my favorite radio station: I just want it to ring loudly enough to make me open my eyes. The way my cell phone used to. Sniff.
Pretty things. They never last.