Cellphones by Patty LaRoche

Patty LaRoche

When cellphones first came out, I vowed never to own such a contraption. For one, they were the size of a toaster and had antennas that could double as plungers, and two, I couldn’t imagine spending my time away from a phone on a phone. Besides, that’s what gas stations were for.

Times changed, I gave in, and now my cellphone is a constant companion. Even watering the yard, I am not absent this multi-tasking device. Yesterday, however, when Dave and I were headed to Kansas City and I realized that I had left it at home, there was a sense of relief, probably because I knew I could live without it.

Or could I?

Well, let’s just say it was hard. The list of calls I planned to make while my husband drove, the graduation and birthday gifts I would order on line, and the texts that needed answering all would have to wait.

Dave and I decided to eat sushi from our favorite restaurant in Overland Park. Recently sold, its name and menu had changed. I would call ahead to see what kind of service it offered, in light of the Covid-19 regulations. No problem, except the new name and our choice of favorite rolls were in the notes of my phone. Plan B, a hamburger place, would have to do.

Costco was next, but that was a problem. My extensive grocery list was in my notes, as were the lists of two of my girlfriends who needed us to pick up a few items. Pictures on my cell phone showed a shrimp dish our neighbor recommended, and surely, I just knew, my friends were texting, adding other items as the afternoon progressed. (They were.)

Dave dropped me off at Costco’s front door and left to put gas in our car. The plan was for him to return, have his glasses checked in the optical department and meet me when he was finished. Since I had to cover each aisle three times, knowing I had forgotten something, surely I would run into him somewhere. I didn’t. Was he outside, waiting in the car? Or were we just missing each other, he in the generator aisle and me searching for ripe avocados? Perhaps I should hang in the tool section. No, bad idea. He would be looking for me in produce. And we all know what happens the more we look. Items that were not on my list now became irresistible. This was turning into an expensive expedition.

And to think, a simple cellphone would have resolved all of this.

Ultimately, I caught up with Dave in the optical department, after, he said, he had searched high and low for me on every aisle. From then on, I clung to him like Saran Wrap.

Let’s face it. Cell phones can be life-lines. After all, they double as flashlights, tape measures, music collections, step-counters, shopping centers, communication systems, photo albums, game-players, Amber alerts, weather-watchers, research guides, and calorie-counters (to name a few). All of those come in mighty handy when the need arises, so yes, I was frustrated without my gadget.

The next morning, as I was reading my Bible, I began to wonder if I would be equally as devastated if I lost the ability to connect with Jesus. Could I go a day without his spiritual truths that comfort me and bring me peace? Would I be vulnerable without my God-connection that reminds me of what I need and warns me of dangers ahead? Is it really the “food” I require to survive and the navigation I need to keep my priorities straight? When I had managed to go days without opening my Bible, did I fret over that as much as I did my few hours without my cell phone?

Let’s just say, I’m not proud of that answer.

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