Phone, Lost

My i-phone and I became separated today.

Using my wife’s phone I tried calling mine. The call went to Voicemail. A voice invited me to leave a short 10-second message for Howard. On the spur of the moment I couldn’t think of any short ten-second message I needed to send myself. I couldn’t think of a long ten-second message either.

I searched my memory. Where had I been?

I’d driven to the  movies. 

I searched the car.

I sat in the car and called myself. 

I remembered then I’d switched the phone to ‘vibrate’. I heard no ring tone. I left no message.

I called the cinema. 

The menu invited me to press 2 to speak to a human. The human was a young man who asked me to describe my phone.

I think it’s an i-phone.

You think it is an i-phone, sir?

I think so… it’s small… portable. You can make calls… there’s internet…

You’re not sure it’s an i-phone?

Is there another sort? It’s small. You can fit it in your pock…

No one’s handed in an i-phone today sir.

I left my wife’s number.

Next stop the supermarket. 

The young man had acne. He was kind. He searched Lost Property. The phone wasn’t there.

I thanked the young man and prowled the aisles in which my wife and I had shopped. It wasn’t where we’d selected celery and leeks, it wasn’t amongst the lentils, not with the fat-free milk, not with eggs.

I returned to my friend with the zits: May I leave you my number?

Certainly sir. I’ll take it down.

I gave him my number. Later, in the sanctuary of my home, I realised how unhelpful it was to leave my number: the caller would receive the call intended for me.

That phone costs me money. I have a Plan, I have Bundling, I have Home Internet, a fax number (yes, by means of fax I receive documents from fellow antediluvians.) I pay for all of these. I am bewildered by the Plan, the Bundle, the two separate bills for Internet. I pay the bills.

Hours passed. During the Separation, time has passed peacefully. I called my friend at the Supermarket. 

No news, I’m afraid sir.

If you do find it, I’ll pay you to keep it. 

The young man carbuncular laughed: You’re not being serious, sir.

I wasn’t sure.

My wife sent a text message to my phone: This phone has been lost. If you see this text please respond. Thank you. 

My wife joined me in the garden, bearing her phone and a smile of satisfaction. 

It’s at the cinema.

As I drove to the cinema I remembered visiting the Gents’ toilets. My cubicle was a pool of urine. Using toilet paper I bent to the task of mopping and cleaning and drying. Whenever I bend in these slim fit trousers things fall from my pocket.

At the cinema the young lady asked: How are you going today? 

Thank you for asking: not much different to when you asked me how I was this morning.

She smiled. 

I enquired after my phone.

The young lady went to an office and returned with a small phone. 

Is this your i-phone, sir?

I recognised the photo of my granddaughter’s school sweater (she doesn’t want her likeness looked at without license from her, so we agreed I could show her tummy in school uniform.)

Yes, that’s it.

I thanked the young lady, who smiled again..

In the course of the Separation I’d missed some calls. Happily, Voicemail had rescued the following:

Hello Doctor Goldenberg. How are you today? I’m calling from Amex to invite you to give feedback…

Hello Howard. How are you today? This is Alex. I’m calling from Telstra with our Special Offer…

Hello Doctor. Long time no talk. This is Sal from American Express. How are you today?

To all my callers, I’m well thanks. And my i-phone is well and truly back.  

I Tried to Drown

I tried to drown my enemy last night. I thought he and I might become friends. He seduced me, and I fell. I told myself he was the apple of my eye. I knew what I was doing, I saw behind that gleaming façade the black tunnel and the signs that warned me, give up hope all ye who enter here.
I dressed him in candy pink, the better to declare to him and to all who beheld us together, this is unnatural, this is absurd, we do not belong together…I made him look ridiculous the better to ridicule myself.

Early in our – what was it? – a friendship? – an affair? – he showed himself in all his treachery. Yet I could not put him to one side.

I had, I knew, sold my soul. I had no recourse to a Divinity, no-One to pray to.

I spoke to my friend, saying:

Wert thou my enemy, O thou my friend,

How wouldst thou worse, I wonder, than thou dost

Defeat, thwart me?

Lying in the bath last night, pleasuring my marathon-weary muscles, my friend called me. I reached for him with hands all slippery. My friend was in my fallible grasp, at my mercy. I dropped him into the waters, to his fate.

Some time later (I cannot say how much time had passed) in an act of mistaken morality, I hoisted him from the depths. I shook him a little, dried him perfunctorily, turned my back on him and plunged my face beneath the waters to remove the soap. I had done with my bath and I had done with my friend.

I emerged and I dried myself. Just then my i-phone rang and I knew I had failed to drown my enemy.