I love my cell phone. Truly, I do. It has big buttons on the front so that when I dial, I hit all the buttons I'm trying to hit. I can flip it open and search for football scores on the internet; check up on all my email; find the nearest gas station on the GPS; download music, ringtones, videos and pictures; and of course text everyone I know because that seems to be the communication method of choice for most of my friends...I don't know whatever happened to plain conversation but I go with it. And that is what I want to talk about today.
I've been visiting my mom for Christmas. She lives on Woodland Trail and yes, the name of the road is the best description for the neighborhood she lives in. Up on a mountain, I can walk out 15 yards from her front porch and rappel down a cliff if I want to. We watch sunsets that blanket the valley from the front porch swing. I drink morning coffee on the rockers as the sun again peaks through from the mists. I can see twinkle lights and buildings 45 miles away, past the town I grew up in. On the west side of the house is a trail down the side of a waterfall that right now is dripping with icicles. On the east side is a row of huge fir trees. And it sits on this mountain that is 20 minutes from any sort of civilization. She has no long distance on her telephone service and no internet. Cable is the newest luxury she finally put in when her kids stopped visiting during football season.
So for the two weeks I've been here communicating with the outside world has been an adventure in itself. I used to have Sprint but would have to walk down the old country road to use it. Now I have Verizon and have to walk around the house lifting the cell to various heights or swing it in wide circles to be able to send texts to friends. And to receive texts generally takes anywhere from 4 minutes to 4 hours. Yes, I actually had one delivered four hours after it was sent! And calling? Most of the time, I just wait until it's time to get in the car and drive down the mountain before I call anybody.
But, the other night I was texting 4 different people at once. Now when I do this, I have to find the best spot in the room or walk out to the 30-degree wind on the porch and face into it to get the best reception. As I was in the middle of making New Year's Eve plans with Jess, talking to Donovan about a sorority sister's party in Nashville, discussing El Tapatio with Isaiah and chatting about fireworks with Patrick, everything stopped. No reception. No replies. Nothing.
Now, since I'm new to all this texting thing, I really like closure (like on the phone when you say "bye" to someone). This has been unbelievably difficult up here in the Mists of Avalon because there is just too much time between reception in and reception out. After 10 days of it, this would be the day that I'm about to explode. Ten days of increasingly spotty ability to talk was driving me crazy. So, in one last attempt at wrapping up these four conversations-- keep in mind I had waited about ten minutes for responses and was getting impatient -- I send out four more texts. Less than a minute after doing that, the cell beeps like crazy and all the texts I had been waiting on came in. And of course, in contradiction to everything I had just sent. By the time it was through, I was heading to eat with Zaya, to a party with Donovan, nowhere with Jess and accusing Patrick of ignoring me.... arrrgggghhh!
I grabbed my keys, jerked on my jacket, ran to the car and drove down the road frantically texting again. Not going to Nashville, heading to Cookeville, Zaya was on his own for dinner and I'm sorry for assuming you were ignoring me. I love it up here on the mountain, but next time I'm bringing a satellite phone!!