This morning I was running a little late, kind of rushed to get off because I had to pick up a colleague at campus and drive to an all-morning meeting about 25 miles away.  I put the finishing touch on the tie, wriggled into the suit jacket, and gathered my personal effects from the dresser: wallet, keys, ink pen, smartphone . . . Whoa!!

mobile-phone_sgh-i617_mediumWhere was the Blackjack?

Not in its usual place, not in the next-to-usual place, nowhere in sight.  I was frantic, but considering I was BEYOND out of time in view of the appointment up the road, I simply had to tear myself away, phoneless.

The stress was doubled, too, because not only was I going to have to get through the morning without the phone, but I had no idea where it was.  For all I knew, it was stolen, and I was really frustrated that I couldn’t suspend life to launch the full investigation that seemed so warranted.

Anyway, I struck out on my journey, exasperated as I drove off campus that I couldn’t make a call or two to people I knew who might have found the phone at the gym where I had been the evening before.

Of course, after getting on the way, consoling thoughts strove to quell the anxiety as I reasoned, “Hey, this can be positive.  We should all remember that life went on just fine without cell phones and email and the Internet.”  So I reasoned.

But the reasoning lasted short.  After I got to the meeting and the first speaker began, I instinctively felt in my side coat pocket for the phone as an alarm beeped off and on in my mind, “Time to check email.  Time to check email.”   That’s what I always do at a meeting when somebody starts to make a speech.  (If I’m not vigilant, I find myself checking email even during church!)  First check the work email, then check the home email.  If the speech if boring, I might even check Facebook.

But “Drats!” again.  No phone, no soulage.

I picked up a pen and a note pad on the table.  “Perhaps,” I reasoned this time, “I can write something creative as a diversion to keep my mind off the phone.”  I stared at the blank page, the pen poised motionless, my mind as blank as the page.  Nope, it just wouldn’t work.  I couldn’t get my mind off email, wondering what messages I was missing or who was trying to text me.

A while later,  I felt at the empty pocket again, as if hoping somehow the phone had mysteriously appeared where it so naturally seemed to  belong.   I was desperate to call  home to ask Sarah if she had found the phone, or call my secretary at the office to find out if she  had called the gym to see if someone turned it in there.  But of course, those longings were futile.

And that’s the kind of morning it was.  Four hours passed as eight.

I was relieved when I got back to campus to learn that my wife had recovered the phone after my secretary dialed the number and it rang from the obscure corner where it had been inadvertently hidden. Happy ending?  Kind of.

So what did I learn from this episode?

Nothing.  Not a darned thing.  If there was a moral about patience, or a lesson about what really matters (as opposed to what doesn’t matter) in life, I confess I missed it.  I know if I lose my phone tomorrow, I will feel just as angry and worry just as much as I did this morning . . . no, even more since the frayed nerve-endings are still raw from the recent trauma.

So thus the lament, “O man, how pitiful thou art!  What hast become of thee?  This vile technology!”

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