29 June 2010


"Hi.  My name is Fr. Phillips, and I have a problem with cell phone dependency."

Ok.  Maybe it's not as dramatic as that, but I left my cell phone in Pittsburgh, and it's a great big fat inconvenience.  It happened because I was careless.

I'd just preached at Fr. Noel's first Mass, and by the time the Mass was over I had to get straight to the airport.  There was a nice reception, but I didn't have time to go to it.  One of the seminarians was taking me to the airport, so I told him, "Dan, I'm running over to the rectory to get my things.  You can pack us up some food from the reception, and we'll eat it on the way."  When I jumped into his car, I put my bag in the back seat, and Dan handed me a plate with all sorts of goodies.  Since I hadn't eaten lunch, it looked darned good.  I had my cell phone in my hand, and instead of slipping it into my jacket pocket, I put it into the cup holder next to my seat.  Big mistake.  We were having a great conversation, and I was eating like there was no tomorrow, and before I knew it, we were at the airport.  I grabbed my things from the back seat, said my hasty good-bye, and ran into the airport to catch my flight.  As soon as the glass doors slid back into place, I remembered my phone.  I dashed back out, but of course Dan was gone.  I asked a security guard if there were any phones around, thinking I could call my number and get Dan to circle around.  Not only were there no public phones, but all the guard did was shrug her shoulders -- no offer was made to let me use her cell phone clipped to her belt in full sight.

I made it just in time for my flight, and the first leg of the trip was to Memphis.  Fortunately, I had a laptop computer with me, so I bought a little bit of wireless time and started to e-mail anyone I thought might be looking at e-mail on a Sunday evening.  I knew people would be worried -- I always let my family and others know where I am, and whether or not the flight is on time, etc.  I managed to get an e-mail through to someone to let them know that I was all right, and that the flight from Memphis to San Antonio was going to be an hour late.

I had no idea how crippling it is to be phone-less.  Even when a fellow passenger offered the use of his cell phone, I couldn't call anybody -- I couldn't remember a single telephone number!  We get so used to storing our contact list in our cell phones, there's no need to remember numbers anymore.  The whole experience was rather sobering.  There I was, a reasonably intelligent person, made helpless because I'd been careless enough to forget a device tiny enough to fit in the palm of my hand!

I'm still phone-less, but Dan's mom called me this morning and said that she'd sent it by Fed-Ex, and it should arrive before 3 p.m. tomorrow.  I couldn't thank her enough.

The whole experience showed me how dependent I am on that stupid little cell phone. 

Oh well, at least I had my laptop with me...  

Hmmm.  Maybe that's another dependency in the making...