Can you hear me now?

Many years ago, I wrote a column I self-syndicated to newspapers in three states. This is one from the summer of 2003. Enjoy!

For the past several weeks I have been on a mission to find not one, but two misplaced cell phones. I say misplaced because I am convinced that somewhere beneath the clutter I call home the two phones are together happily commiserating with one another.

“Can you hear me now?” mockingly asks cell one to cell two.

“Nope, your battery is dead,” laughs cell two.

In the meantime, my daughter’s social life is limited to e-mail, instant messaging and talking with her friends via the not-as-cool-as-a-cell home phone, while her dad is still in a state of shocked amazement that his lovely bride really could be so inept.

But there is hope.

A few weeks ago during a visit to Silver Dollar City, our eldest child was having a blast while riding a roller coaster when his cell phone unintentionally attempted cellicide while plunging into the depths of the ride’s machinery.

Afterward, my son tried to make me feel better by sheepishly saying, “You know, Mom, I didn’t like really like that phone anyway.”

I immediately had the cell service suspended and then we notified theme park authorities that in the event they found a mangled mess vaguely resembling a Motorola phone lying beneath a certain roller coaster that it might belong to the Madden family of Willow Springs.

Unbelievably, less that a week later, a package containing a slightly bruised, but apparently no-worse-for-wear cell phone arrived via U.S. mail, complete with a lovely note thanking us for patronizing Silver Dollar City.

And, yes, we can hear you now.

The other day, I actually found a lost cell phone. Unfortunately, it wasn’t one of my misplaced phones.

Knowing how it felt to do without, I was determined to find the owner of this cell phone, and not knowing what else to do, I randomly selected a listing from the cell’s directory and dialed “Wendy’s cell.”

“Hello,” said a woman answering the phone.

“Hello, Wendy?” I inquired.

“Yes, this is Wendy,” she confirmed.

“I’m sorry to bother you, but this is Barbara Madden of Willow Springs, Missouri, and I was hoping you could help me,” I continued.

“Who?” asked a wary Wendy.

Again, I tried to explain, “Barbara Madden and I’ve found a cell phone with your number listed in its directory and I was wondering if you could check your caller ID and tell me whose phone I’m calling from so I can return it.”

“What? My number is in whose phone? Huh?” continued a confused wary Wendy.

Realizing the futility of the situation, I said good-bye to Wendy and dialed a second number from the found cell phone’s directory.

I proceeded with a similar introduction used previously with wary Wendy, but this time adding that I was married to the baseball coach at Willow Springs.

“Uh, hold on,” said a girl who answered the phone.

“Here, talk to my dad,” she said.

“Hello, I’m sorry to bother you, but this is Barbara Madden of Willow Springs. I found a cell phone and I’m trying to get it back to its owner. Can you help me?” I asked the gentleman.

“Willow Springs?” he asked. “It’s my daughter’s phone, but I can’t imagine how it ended up in Willow Springs.”

After a bit more discussion, we eventually determined that his granddaughter must have let her boyfriend, who plays baseball with my son, use her mother’s cell phone and the phone ended up in Willow Springs when my husband gave the boyfriend a ride to a ballgame in Springfield and the boyfriend left the phone in our van.

At least I think that’s right.

It’s a little late, but I now realize it would’ve been a whole lot simpler to have just called my son’s battered but available cell phone and had him check caller ID, but not before asking him, “Hey, can you hear me now?”


About barbarawmadden

I began teaching in 1981, but after a few years decided staying home with my children was what was best for my family. After almost 20 years raising four children, I returned to the classroom in 2005.

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