Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Tethered

Lifelines, or ties that really bind?



Up to a year or so ago, my clock radio, always tuned to KUSC for soothing background music, was enough, whether for working in my home office, or for unwinding to sleep. But now, I'm slowly adjusting to what is now called the "new normal." The above gadgets are my constant companions, even at bedtime.

In the middle is my cellphone, with me at the office, the grocery store, on date nights. What do you think? Should I just get it implanted somewhere in my body? My ever-present fear of misplacing it would be eliminated, so I wouldn't be a modern castaway in a sea of humanity. It's my conduit to my gentleman friend, my mom, my son, my clients, the whole damned world. Right now, I'm doing this post while waiting for a teleconference that was supposed to have happened almost an hour ago, and I'm putting other activities on hold till it gets going. For someone with a full-plate approach to life scheduled to the nanosecond, being "on hold" like this, by the person who requested the call, is irritating and disrespectful.

On the left is what we call the "house phone," which is a backup for when the hospice staff forgets my cell number.

At the right-position is the walkie-talkie, half of the set I gave Mom last Mother's Day (see my 5-12-12 post). When I presented Mom with this gadget, she scoffed, "Yeah, I can really see myself using this!" Now, it's our connection across a hallway-maze that bisects our barely-1,400-square-foot house. She is mostly bed-bound these days, and I spend much of my home-time in my back office, as if we inhabit separate countries.

The idea of room-to-room shouting repels me, but sometimes the walkie-talkie is intrusive. Are any of you old movie buffs? If so, you may have caught scenes where some 1930's business hustler has a desk full of candlestick phones, and at any given time, has one up to each ear simultaneously. That's me.

It seldom fails...I'm in the middle of a business-related call, and the walkie-talkie suddenly comes alive with a "Hey, Val? Val? Val?" I briefly excuse the "professional me," and give a brief "I'm on the phone, Mom," to which she says, "Okay. I was just checking to see if you were still here." Then, back to the other receiver to tend to business. Literally two minutes later, the walkie-talkie produces another hail.

On my one day off, I've taken to carting all three of these receivers with me -- to the kitchen, out in the front or back yards -- and it's an interesting juggling feat when I'm trying to clean or do pruning. Recently, I thought of finding a small-sized tool belt to wear as part of my day-off garb. It stinks, believe me, to have one my three gadgets ringing on a faraway counter, across a wet, freshly-mopped kitchen floor, or perched on one of the garden statues. My recent knee injury has complicated these scenarios, but that's a topic for another posting.

Sometimes I have the fantasy, inspired by some movie scenes, of just heaving one of these devices -- across the room, out my car window, or into the trash. Nah, it'll never really happen. I just savor the precious times when there's quiet.

Let me think on this matter further. In the meantime, I'd love to hear from any readers as to their similar experiences or suggestions.

Have a good day.

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