The Absurd and Amazing Adventures of Cafe Girl: As If On Cue...

April 25, 2008

As If On Cue...

My cell phone screen died last weekend. It's a Nokia model, one I bought on my 30th birthday last year. Since my move to Los Angeles, I've been able to get five bars of reception everywhere in the city except my apartment. The friendly Customer Service Reps at T-mobile suggested getting one of those phones with the ability to call over the Wireless network. With that, wah-lah, five bars.

The phone's been a symbol of my attachment to Chicago. I even bought it there since I was back for a birthday/Christmas visit. I used it on a daily basis to find some connection back to my past even as I claimed I was building some hope for the future with it.

And then, as if it knew something about where I needed to be, the cell phone from Chicago died. Actually, just the screen went out. So while it still could receive calls, I wasn't able to tell who was calling and I certainly couldn't make any calls out. It was a symbol of what my past three weeks have been like -- being on the receiving end of thoughts and words from places unknown, and being ill-equipped to respond.

T-mobile sent me a new phone that arrived in the mail yesterday. It looked just like my old phone, except when I put in my Sim card, the screen that popped out was not what I recognized. I'm not sure why, but I flashed back to the first call I got on that now-dead phone -- an unexpected but hoped-for birthday call that made me laugh, feel comforted and reassured.

For a moment, this new phone seemed like an impostor. It looked just like the old phone but it didn't have any of the text messages I'd sent, pictures I'd taken or screensavers I'd customized. There's not a record left of the past four months of messages sent or conversations had. The call log is clean. It's like no one ever called.

I'm wondering now if it's a good thing. The phone calls made and messages sent in the past four months have always left me wondering if I was becoming too attached to a city and a dream of a life that wasn't really meant for me. I was always waiting for the old phone to ring, and more often than not, I was always disappointed by its silence or horribly bad reception.

Now, I get to have a new phone. Clean slate. It seems appropriate that the first message I got was from one of my LA friends, a poker buddy confirming a game tonight.

I'm sure the call log will soon be full again. But this time perhaps it'll be a little more balanced between my now, and my then.

1 comment:

madeforjoy said...

dear janice, i do appreciate your reflections. peace, friend. Susan