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Pooh Loses His Cell Phone

Two and a half years of roaming around the country in the Airstream, and I’ve never lost my phone. Not even for a few minutes. But a couple of months sitting in the house and suddenly it’s gone.

I remember talking to Colin Hyde this morning for a while. We were discussing the Vintage Trailer Jam and how we were going to solve electrical challenges at the event. The phone usually goes right into my pocket after a call, but this time I don’t remember what I did with it. I know I didn’t make or receive any calls for the rest of the day (unusual in itself), and then this evening when we went to the local used bookstore to trade in some books, I realized I didn’t have it.

There are too many places the phone could be, especially in the mess of a house undergoing renovation. I spent forty minutes turning over boxes and re-tracing my steps before conceding it was not here. In the Airstream, if something was lost it could not remain lost for long, because there simply wasn’t enough space for something to be without getting in the way, and thus being discovered.

To my mind this dilemma is the direct result of having too much house around me. But that excuse reminds me of A.A. Milne’s story of Winnie The Pooh being stuck in Rabbit’s door.

“It all comes,” said Pooh crossly, “of not having front doors big enough.”

“It all comes,” said Rabbit sternly, “of eating too much.”

Perhaps Rabbit is right and it is really a matter of just being fluff-brained, like Pooh.

Things do get lost in Airstreams, I’m sure, but it takes real effort. I remember last winter when Rich C and I were camped in Tucson (this was before we bought the house). In a distracted fit of cleaning, he managed to put his cell phone in the trash, take the trash out to the dumpster, and only after the trash truck had emptied the dumpster 30 minutes later did he figure out what he’d done. By then the phone was halfway to a landfill, no doubt bleeping plaintively all the way.

I accompanied Rich on the drive over to the Verizon store to get a new phone. It was a long drive of self-remonstration, as I recall. I didn’t try to soften the blow for him either, agreeing with him every moment that he was a total doofus for tossing his phone in the trash. (That’s what guy friends do.) But his experience proved one thing: you can indeed lose a phone in an Airstream if you try hard enough.

The phone is an essential lifeline for full-time travelers and I would not be without it, even if I wasn’t working. That’s why we have two, and we keep them on separate networks. With two different networks we often find one phone works when the other doesn’t, giving a sort of redundancy and a slightly higher level of reliability. Being without mine feels like the time I sent in my camera for a week’s service. It’s one of my three essential tools: laptop, camera, and phone. With them operating normally, I can do anything — without them I feel naked and disarmed.

Eleanor and I have tried the obvious trick: calling the phone from another phone and listening for it. No joy. I also have contacted Verizon to put a temporary outgoing call block on it. I don’t want someone else finding it and making a few long calls to Paraguay. (This has happened to several people I know, and the phone companies are not good about waiving the bill.)

At this point I have to conclude that the phone is either quietly dead somewhere or beeping the “missed call” warning from deep in the cushions of a comfy chair at Bookman’s. I hope it passes a pleasant night. I’ll give the store a ring in the morning — from Eleanor’s phone.

3 Responses to “Pooh Loses His Cell Phone”

  1. Fred Says:

    Surely you don’t think….”Toto”–the Ultramax ?….Naw!

  2. Lou Woodruff Says:

    Our sincere sympathy on the loss of your “friend”, the cell phone. I think they should install strobe lights in those little things so that if lost they can flash a beacon! Count your blessings though. You could be here in OH where we have a foot of snow and it is still coming down!!!

  3. Rich Says:

    FOUND IT! It was in the lost-and-found at Bookman’s. Must have fallen out of my pocket while I was reading “The Mysteries of Harry Potter” in the children’s section …