Sunday, November 16, 2008


The first cell phone I buy is small. It doesn’t flip open or into some kind of transformer. It is not a camera, comedian, or computer. It is phone. And a phone on low volume because for the first year as its owner, I don’t know that the volume is adjustable. Instead I just assume I am going deaf and everyone is mumbling.

I drive a ‘92 Ford Escort. I am the third in my family to drive this small loud car. When I am lost and need cellular assistance, I call Dad yelling, hoping he’ll get the hint and speak up, but he never does. He never yells or screams. He remains calm and asks me where I am. I answer with a street name or landmark. At the intersection of Main and School Streets. By a Dunkin Donuts? I don’t know where I am. What? I can’t hear you, I say with the phone deep in my ear cavity. “I cannot hear you! I have no idea WHAT you are saying. DAD I’m-. shit. How the hell? How am I back at the Mass Pike? Dad, I’m on the Pike again, let me call you back.”

All year long, I call Dad yelling until I am in tears and cursing his calmness. All this frustration because I did not read the phone’s manual. I hate reading manuals. I much prefer memoirs, short stories, and facial expressions.