I am still a comparative novice when it comes to the functions of a smart phone. The only reason mine could possibly be smart is because it wears a jacket! I was rather proud of myself for downloading the 'app' for the World Cup, two years ago, but then found out I could just 'google' results. If my phone was that smart, it would have just shouted 'goal' each time there was a score.
The phone has gone from becoming a useful piece of equipment, to a leash. Anyone under thirty would not remember having to get out of the bath to answer the phone. I do not take my phone into the bathroom, but Murphy's law always dictates that it rings as soon as my head pops under the shower. If I do not answer my phone by the second ring, the three emergency services arrive on my doorstep, with my daughter hot on their heals, asking, 'where were you?' If I leave my phone at work, by mistake, or at home when going to work, I can almost guarantee the number of missed calls that will show. Not only is it a round number, it is almost always circular, to wit, O! However, with face time, messaging and other wild and various functions, I can understand why there is wild panic when one is lost.
This week, Roger found a cell phone in the gas station, and brought it back to the office, hoping that we could decipher a way of finding its owner. My initial reaction was to call for Samantha, who is familiar with all things modern, and confusing. She immediately changed the black screen to a psychedelic display, and proceeded to check for clues. My next stroke of genius was rather cruelly laughed out of the office. I suggested we looked to see if we could find the number of the phone. I knew that somewhere in the depths of the technology, the host number could be recalled. It was not until I verbalised my bright spark, that I realised I had perhaps made rather a silly remark. With two sets of eyes upon me, I was asked, 'now what'. Smugly, I picked up the office phone and started to dial. Yes, it was a stupid idea, and yes, I did feel rather ridiculous, as I shrunk back into my chair and asked, 'has anyone got a better idea'. Samantha was looking through, 'favourites', as Roger was suggesting that we call Peewee, as apparently he had made several calls to the mobile device, in the short time it was in his possession. Aunt Mary, was the only name we were confident of pronouncing with any confidence, but decided not to call, in case this was some sort of code for something contraband; I was on a mission of innocent mercy, not on a mission to beg for mercy, and claim innocence, when arrested by the narcotic division.
Fortunately, our job was made easier as the phone started to ring. Samantha all but threw the phone at me, and I attempted to answer. Pressing as hard as I could on what, to me, looked like the answer button, I was unable to make the connection. As we were running out of time, Samantha regained control and succeeded where I had failed miserably. 'Hello', I said, very clearly, of course, in my best English accent. I was unable to comprehend the verbiage that came through the earpiece, as a reply, although it was loud enough for all to hear. I repeated my salutation, and waited for the voice at the other end to say something coherent, before continuing. It would appear that the caller was sightly taken aback at having someone other than the proprietor answer the phone. As it was still impossible to understand a thing that the caller said, I decided to take the proverbial bull by the horns, and explained that we had found the phone and, wished to return it to its rightful owner. This appeared to be the correct answer! 'Can you bring it to the barber's shop?' was the first articulate sentence that came across the airwaves, but before I had the chance to ask whether it was 'a' barber's shop, or 'the' barber's shop (not that I had any idea where 'a' or 'the' barber shop my be located) he had left the mouthpiece and was reiterating to a noisy crowd, that someone other than the desired party was on the other end. Attempting not to be judgmental, (although it can be quite difficult at times,) I waited patiently, whilst the 'youth talk' continued. I find it quite easy to understand text talk on the screen, as it is similar to a form of shorthand that attempted to rival 'Pittman's', but I have not been able to talk it! In, what is commonly referred to by my children as, 'the old days', the adverts that were pasted in the rectangular slots above the seats of the 'tube', read, 'If u cn rd ths msg u cn gt a gd jb'. No one I knew was fooled. Pittman's reigned, as it was faster to write squiggles, but a new idea had been born. I was fairly fluent in back slang, and other coded language as a teenager. (My cousin and her friends would often converse in one or other, when I was in earshot; being that I was six years younger I probably shouldn't have been privvy to the chatter. It was only recently that I told her that I had made it a point to learn how to interpret, for no other reason that to understand the gossip!!) However, I have not been considered a youth for some time. (The mind is willing etc etc...and I was asked for ID when bought glue a couple of years ago, but I reluctantly, I must face reality.) I presume it was the fact that my telephone partner was talking 'properly', and not in 'short-talk', that alerted those with him that something was amiss.
I did manage to get his attention, again, and asked, again, the location of the barber shop. I was still none the wiser, and was quite delighted when he asked, 'where you at?' Unfortunately, my mother's influence overtook, and with a sigh, I said, 'It should be where are you?' The inevitable reply, 'I'm at the barbers shop, I told you!', should not have been a surprise, and only added to the perplexity. 'Okay, I am downtown', I told him, and then asked if he knew various landmarks nearby. At last, we were on the same page, as he knew the restaurant opposite the office, and told me to, 'Wait there. I will call you when I get there'. I started to mumble that I had no intention of going anywhere, but decided that as I spoke a dormant language, there was no point in continuing, and gave Samantha the phone to bring the exchange to a halt.
We waited patiently for the call. Of course, we had no idea if the collector was walking, or driving, and as we still had no idea as to the location of THE Barber's Shop, (and whether they would be coming in a quartet,) we could not make an approximation as to when they would arrive. It was fairly obvious, however, when a young man, about 5'7", wearing Michael Jordan's hand me downs, (I have never seen basket ball shorts worn to the ankles) appeared outside the restaurant, looking from side to side, that we had our receiver. The phone rang, and I was greeted with a frantic squeal. 'I'm here, outside the restaurant, I don't see you'. I was curious, but didn't ask (of course) as for whom he was looking . I know that I am a vertically challenged with red hair and posh shoes, but he would not be able to tell that over the phone. Leaving the office, with all eyes on me from our location, I crossed the road, and waved to the lost stranger.
'This is Melipe's phone you got', he said, and then asked, 'Where's Melipe?' It was very hard, with my natural sarcastic nature, to smile, and say nothing that could be considered rude. 'I am not acquainted with Melipe', I replied, and resisted asking, 'Does your mother know you are out looking like that?' To be fair, in Austin, especially downtown, it is I who should be asked, 'what you wearing?' I should not make judgment on people I do not know. The Barber's Shop frequenters are probably very respectable people; there is probably a very good reason why they have problem finding clothes to fit them. Smiling, I regained my composure, and did not attempt to correct any further grammatical faux pas, but attempted to 'fit in' and volunteered the information, 'One of our guys found the phone in a gas station'. Looking thoroughly taken aback, he fought to reply, and finally said, 'I don't have any money to give you a reward'. Suddenly, I felt rather shallow. 'Goodness, I don't want a reward, we just wanted to ensure the phone found its way back into the hand of it's owner'. Heavenly blessings were bestowed upon me with such gusto that I felt completely overcome, and regretted making any assumptions about this friend who had given up his time to come and retrieve the phone. Of course, as you can tell by this post, the feelings did not last long enough to discourage me to write.
My phone rung less times this week than Milipe's rang in the fifteen minutes or so that it was in my possession. Admittedly, I have taken advantage of the messenger service, which I do know how to use, to send greetings to my sister. In fact, we even managed to send each other videos, of things only we would think funny.
The rest of the week, and for that matter, the weekend, paled into insignificance in comparison. I am looking forward to next week to see what can possibly bring forth.....another story.