And they float, too, like Ivory soap

It was amazing. There I was all dressed up in my new second-hand blazer and black slacks, visiting the restroom at the Sweet Waters Restaurant in Albany. I was on my way to spend some time with Fred at the nursing home before going on to Salem to teach my first class of the quarter at Chemeketa Community College. Ms. important, carrying her cell phone in her pocket lest she miss a call.

And then, all of a sudden, I heard something drop. Into the water. Yes, my cell phone. As I saw it floating, green lights glowing on the screen, I laughed. Of all the disasters I might have expected that day, I would never have expected that. Nor would I have expected that after I got the phone somewhat dried off with paper seat covers, it rang. Yes, there in the pink bathroom stall. It was an important call that I had been waiting for, and I subsequently became one of those people we hate who talk talk talk on their cell phones in the middle of a restaurant. My food, the post-holiday diet plate, came, and I just stared at it as I talked. Food, schmood, I had business to take care of.

Much later, when Fred and I were touring the local Petco, squeezing the dog toys and watching a turtle calmly eat a curl of lettuce, my phone rang again. I retreated into the depths of the cat food for a work call.

On Jan. 1, Oregon’s new law prohibiting hand-held use of cell phones while driving went into effect. I bought a do-hickey to stick in my ear, but I haven’t mastered the use of it yet. The only time I relaxed on the hour-and-a-half drive to the Willamette Valley was on that section of Highway 20 with no cell phone reception. No service? Ah, free at last from the phone. Crank up the radio. And then, as I approached the Burnt Woods store, the phone chimed. It was back in service, and I had a message. I parked at the store, listened to my voicemail, called the person back, left a message on her voicemail.

I think we’re all becoming seriously demented these days and not in the way the folks at my husband’s nursing home are. We need something electronic going at all times. Silence scares us.

It’s something to ponder, along with how my phone survived its swim in the toilet. Is there a five-second rule for soaked cell phones? They float pretty well, although I don’t advise trying it.

Author: Sue Fagalde Lick

writer/musician California native, Oregon resident Author of Freelancing for Newspapers, Shoes Full of Sand, Azorean Dreams, Stories Grandma Never Told, Childless by Marriage, and Up Beaver Creek. Most recently, I have published two poetry chapbooks, Gravel Road Ahead and The Widow at the Piano: Confessions of a Distracted Catholic. I have published hundreds of articles, plus essays, fiction and poetry. I'm also pretty good at singing and playing guitar and piano.

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