By Lisa Cherry
Recently I told you about forgetting my driver’s license in the security tub in the airport. Well, last Friday at 4:00 a.m. as I dashed off to St. Louis to catch a flight to the ATF event in Lansing, Michigan, I forgot something else.
I discovered later that my cell phone was still on its charger in my master bathroom. Now how smart can it be if it can’t even remind me to bring it along when I travel?
Micah, my 14-year-old son and traveling companion was horrified. Go on the road without a phone? For three days? Whatever will we do, he queried?
I was more optimistic. Surely we could make it by simply using pay phones along the way. But then I remembered that the world has almost done away with pay phones.
Hmm. And the shuttle driver would be expecting to text me the location of my pick up. OK, maybe Micah was right. It is impossible to travel in this world without a phone.
Ahh, the days when I could simply be “out of reach.” They were simpler times. Could I actually return to that less stressful era?
Or would I simply be such a mama-in-demand that random messages would find me in Michigan via any number they can figure to contact? I sat at Lambert International Airport in St. Louis trying to figure that out.
By the end of our trip I had made a shocking discovery. Micah was right. It is virtually impossible to travel in America without a personal cell phone.
A five hour flight delay in Detroit necessitated a radical change in plans. Since we were only 1.5 hours away from Lansing and the delay would mean missing our meeting, we opted for an unplanned rental car leg to our trip.
Of course, we had no GPS or Mapquest to assist us. We could not call ahead to reserve our rental and no one at home would know we were in a car. Why, any responsible person would find a phone and call home to advise the family of the change of plans.
But did I mention that good old-fashioned pay phones are now virtually non-existent?
Ever have to ask a stranger to use their phone? I was very blessed to locate a nice, new friend who not only allowed us to use her phone but ended up driving with us in our rental car as our human GPS.
Now, don’t worry. Her security clearance was quite high as her business card verified!
She was even willing to scrounge for our lost luggage at the airport and deliver it to Michigan State University.
But then she had to get word to us about the luggage. She called my son Nathan at home in Illinois, who called Timothy, our ATF friend, who in turn had to run all over the arena to deliver her message to us. Oh, the mess I created.
But there were also many simple pleasures that I missed. Like the “mom” phone calls asking for help settling a sibling squabble, or for clues as to where to find one child’s missing shoes.
As I sit here on the plane just hours from home re-entry, I want to shout to the other passengers…I WANT MY PHONE BACK! I need my connection to the outside world and I will no longer complain about that annoying ringtone or the slow internet connection.
I simply do not want to face another stranger at a desk trying to explain why I need to use the land line.
And to the man at the Ford Museum who finally allowed me to make a call: No, I did not come over on the Mayflower. I simply made an error! And I will not do it again! (I hope!)