The Long and Short of It
Missing Muriel

The Cell Phone Challenge

My husband Peter has a cell phone. On his cell phone are a number of unread messages. Fewer than there used to be because he doesn't ever retrieve messages, and therefore I have given up leaving them. (Our children know better than to try to reach him on his cell.) Here's the problem: Peter carries his cell phone with him like the rest of us. But he only turns it on when he needs to make a call!! I've explained ad nauseum that if I needed him in an emergency, I would not be able to reach him. "Oh," he says. But he still doesn't turn it on.

I thought I was the only one with this problem. But a young colleague of mine named Margaret says her mother does the same thing. When Margaret called her mother because she had a flat tire near her mother's home and needed some help, her mother didn't answer. Because she didn't have her cell phone on.

And that story prompted another colleague to talk about her elderly aunt. The grandchildren of the aunt insisted that she get an answering machine. They bought it for her. She had a niece (my colleague) come to help her record the message which says "You have reached so-and-so. You can leave a message, but I won't call you back."

So much for technology.


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