By Hannah Reich Berman
It occurs to me that I might be my own best fan. I assume this to be true since nobody calls me as often as I call myself! In and of itself, this is not worrisome, because I don’t call to actually talk to myself. I do talk to myself quite a bit, but never by phone! As I am always right there with myself, why would I need to use the phone to talk to myself? Still, quite often I do call myself. In addition, there are times when I ask others to call me. But there is a good reason for that.
On average, I misplace my cell phone several times a week. I have even been known to do it more than once a day. It doesn’t happen at home, because when I’m in the house I always keep my cell phone in the same spot. However, it does happen when I am out and about. And it can happen anywhere at all. I might be shopping in a store, sitting in a restaurant, walking along the avenue, or entering or exiting my car. Inevitably, I go to make a call and realize that my little pal is missing.
That’s when the panic sets in. After what is usually a fruitless search, my only option is to stop someone—anyone—and ask him or her to please call my cell phone so I can locate it. The person I ask is not necessarily someone I know. I have stopped perfect strangers to ask for help, but apparently this is not a unique situation since not a single person has ever refused to assist me. Nor has anyone ever suggested, either verbally or by giving me a strange look, that my request is unusual.
I have located my phone under the driver’s seat of my car, on the floor in the rear of the car, in the bowels of my handbag, and in a pocket of whatever I happen to be wearing. I have located it in grocery bags and, when seated in a restaurant, I’ve found it under a sweater or jacket that I had removed and placed on the seat beside me.
Ah, if only it were just the cell phone that poses a problem for me. But that is not the way it is! I also manage to misplace my cordless house phone now and then. But when that happens, I don’t need help. I simply grab my little cellular buddy and call my house number. I have found the missing instrument in a variety of places. It sometimes shows up in a drawer or in the dishwasher rack. It has also been left (by me, of course) on top of the washing machine or dryer down in the basement.
The list of places where I have left the receiver is a long and strange one. One time, the sound of the ring came from my kitchen garbage can. Just as when I misplace my cell phone, there is enormous frustration when it happens—and a sense of overwhelming relief when I find it.
Many years ago, I had the strangest experience of all. (My apologies to those who’ve read about this once before, but the tale bears retelling.) As I was leaving a local supermarket, I received a phone call from my daughter. As we chatted, I went about my business. I unlocked my car door, tossed my handbag onto the front seat, and then proceeded to place my grocery bags in the rear of the car. When I finished doing that, I looked around for my cell phone and panicked when I didn’t see it. It wasn’t on the seat of my car, in my handbag, or in the pocket of my jacket.
Still on the phone with my daughter, I raced over to the shopping cart thinking maybe I had left it in there. But the cart was empty. And all this time I was screaming into the phone, “Oh no, oh no, I lost my cell phone.” As is her way, my daughter repeatedly but very slowly and calmly said, “M-a-a-a . . . . . ,” but I never let her finish! “Don’t ‘Ma’ me!” I shrieked. “Don’t you understand? I can’t find my cell phone!”
Frantic, I continued to ignore her “Ma”s and raced into the store. Just as I was at the entrance to the store, she finally dropped the slow and steady “Ma” routine and screamed loud enough for me to pay attention. “You’re talking to me on your cell phone right now!” I was stunned. I was also weak with relief. I yanked the phone away from my ear, looked at it, and said, “Thank G‑d I found it.” In my mind it had been lost. So much for my mind! It was the one and only time I “lost” my cell phone and did not have to call myself in order to find it.
That may have been a strange experience, but it was certainly not my only one. Several years ago I was home and received a call from Arnie, my Hubby, just as I was leaving the house. I picked up the phone and, as we chatted, I got into my car and drove off. One block from the house, I realized that the call had been abruptly disconnected when I noticed that Arnie was not answering a question I had asked him. Of course he wasn’t! He was no longer on the line.
Frustrated, I pulled the car over to the curb and started to call him back. That was when I discovered that he had called me on the house phone and that was the instrument we were chatting on when I left the house. My cell phone was still on the counter back home.
Sadly, Hubby is no longer around to call me, but I get lots of calls from family and friends. Still, lately, no one calls me as often as I call myself. That’s the way it is. v
Hannah Berman lives in Woodmere and is a licensed real-estate broker associated with Marjorie Hausman Realty. She can be reached at Savtahannah@aol.com or 516-902-3733.