My big sister had the unfortunate and truly devastating experience of losing a very dear friend about two months ago. This friend had always been there for her: when she was bored, when she got into her first accident, and even when she needed someone to wait with her when our parents showed up three hours late to get her from play practice. My sister always said she had never had a better shopping buddy or known a better dinner conversationalist. Even when she pushed too many buttons (as she tends to do to all of us), her friend always had an ear to lend. Even now, Cecilia gets emotional when she brings up the loss. Those of you who have lost your cell- phone too, I know you’ll feel her pain.
According to Cecilia, her phone was perfect: convenient, slim, champagne colored, flip-covered, smaller than the palm of her hand, and lighter than a feather. Thanks to an optimal service plan and low monthly rate, she was connected to the whole world on a very personal level. Sometimes Cecilia and her friends sat out on the porch, right next to each other, talking on each of their cell-phones to a different person. Though the two friends who were right there didn’t say a word to each other, four people were talking instead of two and sometimes more is simply more.
We live in an age of communication. Cell-phones have gone from popular novelty to mainstream necessity. For Cecilia at least, it took losing one to realize the true value of these "adorable accessories." I was reminded of this fact last night when I was in the car with my mom. Cecilia called my mom’s cell-phone in a state of hysterics over a five-page English paper she had due that day and she still had no leads on a topic whatsoever. "Lucky I had my phone with me, Honey…" my mom said, and then, "Hold on. I have to get in my car… And you still with me…hello…hello?" As she talked my sister through the brainstorm process, I was thankful for this piece of technology. This way they could be closer than ever without being close enough for me to hear my sister whine that mom was breathing down her neck for hours as she "sweated over the keyboard and tried not to fall asleep" writing a paper (flash-back to a prehistoric, pre-cell phone era). I thought to myself, "Whatever would we do with out cell-phones?" And I was sure Cecilia was having a moment of silence for her cell phone.
Seriously, though, the facts stand clear: communication and productivity have never been better. Last year, as a sophomore, my sister thought she was so lucky to get invited to a junior prom. Soon, the Daddy-daughter shopping trip rolled around. Dad always said that even though he hated shopping, here was the perfect opportunity to spend more time with his daughter. It was to be "a real bonding experience." As I was always dragged along, I sat on the dressing room floor watching the stress level mount as Cecilia waltzed out in one dress after another, receiving an absent-minded, "You look beautiful, baby" to the cross between a nun’s habit and a potato sack, and an enraged "Not on your mother’s life!" to every skimpy choice which she clearly had decided made her look great. When my dad suddenly took a business call on his own phone, I watched Cecilia slink into the dressing room to dial up a girlfriend. I could hear the muffled: "Yeah, my dad…utterly useless…pink? No, not pink, gold… wait, what? I said gold…in blue? I’m not sure…Oooh! This one’s perfect…no not the one you said, a new one. Thanks sweetie!" she finally announced that she had found "the ONE," and dad handed over the plastic saying, "See Hun…when you and I put our heads together we can do anything!" Cecilia, though, has a different saying: "Cell-phones save money, time, and frustration and are, of course, entirely necessary to the dress-shopping experience."
I have gotten a million and two lectures from my sister on how we should all be so impressed with those save-the-world-and-still-get-home-on-time-to-make-dinner-moms. Cecilia says: "Imagine if someone started marketing such a doll as an action figure/Barbie. She would surely come with a pinstripe skirt-suit, black pumps, a leather briefcase, with the sleek little cell-phone featured upfront. Remember the mother in American Beauty? Her home was perfect, her garden was meticulous, and her shooting aim was right on-target. She, too, used her cell-phone wisely: all the time. What better role model for girls today than a woman who knows how to simplify so efficiently? She pulls into the grocery store, glides through the checkout line, while simultaneously checking up on the status of her latest client, her stocks, and her frequent flyer mileage. After dinner, she drops little Jimmy at basketball while arranging his carpool for the next day over the phone and then calls home to give a virtual goodnight kiss to baby Katie over the phone." The lecture ends as my sister sighs dramatically and says: "I just hope that when I grow up, I can have such a close and nurturing relationship with my children."
One spring Saturday morning, I was warming up for my softball game when I saw my dad and my sister arrive and grab bleacher seats. Before the third inning, Cecilia had wandered off down a bike path. I guess she got a call. It’s okay, though, because I know she loves watching me play softball, and, besides, she watched the entire game for the last three minutes without a single blink of the eye.
About two months ago Cecilia’s cell-phone and beloved friend was lost. The phone brought joy, inspiration and wisdom to her ears and many others. It will be truly missed.
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