10 a.m. When I found it my heart sank. I couldn’t believe I was so careless. It died in my hands, whimpering like a fallen sparrow. Its face was white, bleached of color and shiny wet. It made a sound much like that of the dying E.T. I was heart broken … sort of.

9:45 a.m. Fifteen minutes earlier: I had finished shaving and was still in my pajamas. I realized that I had a large laundry to do and had better get it done early. I loaded up the basket and took it down to the laundry room. I poured in the detergent and dumped the basket into the machine. Another task in a day full of them, completed.

9:55 a.m. I was in the kitchen, and realized that I had an important morning call to make. I reached for my cell phone. It wasn’t on the shelf where I leave it. My heart skipped a beat. Now you’re all high school graduates. You know where this is going. Yes.

Because I had no pockets in my pajamas, I had dropped the phone atop the basket of clothing to be retrieved when I reached the laundry room.

Here is what Scottish poet Robert Burns had to say on the subject: “The best laid schemes o’ mice and men, gang aft a-gley.”

Translated into cellphonia English: “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.”

Yes, my plans for the cellphone went tragically “a-gley.”

Now for the quick TV Guide back story. I liked this little phone, until I had seen the new U.S. Cellular Galaxy Mesmerize, a gorgeous touch screen fully connected to the Internet, to Google, Huffington Post, email and the shopping network.

So, even though my little phone, with touch screen but no Internet access was cute and reasonable, I was seduced by the glamour of the now. So I put it in a drawer and bought the new one. A few months into paying an extra 30 bucks a month for the bells and whistles of the now, she, who has the first nickel her father gave her for a Coca-Cola (she saved it and drank tap water with ice instead), kept complaining about the extra money.

Finally, I decided to turn it in and go back to the smaller, cheaper phone.

I lived with the old for about a week. I pouted and whimpered, sulked and slumped. I missed the Mesmerize but said nothing. This is when my subconscious, that purplish dark clump in my brain, went into action without warning me that it was, as usual, taking control of matters.

9:58 a.m. I rushed into the laundry room. The machine was whirling, hot water churning. I stopped it and pulled out the wet laundry, fished into the bottom of the gray murky water and felt it. It was making the saddest of sounds, like a squirrel just hit by a Vespa. I pulled the battery, tried using cellphone cardiopulmonary resuscitation, blowing on it, drying it on my pajamas. I took it out into the sun and held it up. It kept making the same squealing sound, and then it just died. Just like that without even texting goodbye or “look what you’ve done.” It was over.

When she who knows me better than my Internet service provider came home, she simply said, “It was no accident. You hated the old. You wanted the new. Sometimes you’re like a 13-year-old girl. Go get it and be quiet about it.”

My case is not unusual. How many times, dear reader, have you dropped your cell phone into the laundry, or into the toilet, and then claimed it was only the dishwater? Nobody’s perfect.

The future is rife with disaster. The future is now. OK, it wasn’t an accident. Perhaps I’m guilty of inadvertent cell-slaughter. Maybe Robert Burns was right. My plans went tragically “a-gley.”

J.P. Devine is a Waterville writer.


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