Once in a while I face reminders of how dependent I (and many others) have become on certain technology, especially cell phones. I had one such experience Monday evening. After work, I stopped by Walmart to pick up a few groceries. I went in and shopped with enthusiasm, throwing all kinds of goodies into my cart. When I collected all my credit card could handle, I checked out. After paying and putting my five or so bags in the cart, I went to grab for my keys.
They weren’t there.
I didn’t believe I could have locked them in my car. I thought, Maybe if I go outside to the car and try to open it, I will get in and everything will be fine. Of course, that was just wishful thinking. When I got to my car, I saw my keys, still in the ignition, and my cell phone sitting on the passenger seat. I had even left it open and I swear it gave an evil jeer as I pressed my nose up against the glass window, wishing the glass would melt away so I could get inside.
Then, sheer panic filled my chest. Oh my gosh, I have no cell phone and no keys to get in my car. I’m trapped at the Olean Walmart and I’m going to die. My life is over.
Of course, I was exaggerating the situation, but I still thought, what the heck am I going to do? I have no cell phone! And then I realized two “side effects” of cell phones’ world dominance.
- Pay phones no longer exist (or they’ve become completely invisible).
- Even if pay phones did exist, I don’t know anyone’s number by heart unless it’s someone I knew before I had my cell phone (i.e., my house, my grandma’s house, my boyfriend’s mother’s house). Who needs to memorize phone numbers when you can type a name in to your contact list and instantly dial the number?
I evaluated my situation and tried to decide what to do. I knew my boyfriend was headed to his mother’s for the night and thought he might be there by now. I figured I could ask Walmart or some random stranger to use the phone. I’d call him and he could call one of my roommates who would hopefully be able to bring me my spare key to the car. The kind folks at Woodforest Bank in Walmart let me use their phone. As I explained my situation to the employee there, a woman passing by heard my situation and suggested I call AAA, which I would have done if it came down to it. In fact, I think she was very close to letting me use her account if I hadn’t told her that I already had one. That made me feel a little better about the situation, even though I declined. When I did finally call my boyfriend’s mom’s house, he wasn’t home yet, but I had his mother call his cell phone and he then called my roommates. Whew!!!
Eventually it worked out, although it was a bit of a complicated situation. I got my spare key, my car and, most importantly, my cell phone. Looking back on that struggle makes me chuckle. I love that my desperate mind thought, maybe if I wish real hard my phone will slide out some how or the doors will magically unlock. Although it was certainly a pain-in-the-neck type of situation, I’ve learned a few things from the experience.
- Memorize certain important numbers (i.e., at least one roommate’s number would be a start) you might need in an emergency.
- Don’t be afraid to rely on the kindness of strangers.
- Always try to help a stranger who appears to be in need. You never know when you could make someone’s day, just by smiling at them and offering a suggestion when they seemed to be having a hard time.
What experiences or situations have you faced that made you understand how much we rely on cell phones today?