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Cellular adventures

LORI OSIECKI ILLUSTRATION

Phones used to ring. They didn’t squeal, play “Mardi Gras Mambo” or belch. Bad enough your kids did that.

 And when phones rang, you knew where to find them. Plugged into the wall. The same wall they were plugged into last time you looked, probably in the front hall or next to the bed.

But times change, not always for the better.

First Maxwell Smart came on TV and used his shoe for a phone, and we all thought that was hilarious. Little did we know.

These days phones can lurk anywhere, including in your back pocket or under the couch, and make just about any kind of noise and you got to put up with it.

But there’s one thing I can’t put up with. That is when they get it into their circuits to call up somebody out of the blue that you don’t necessarily want to call – people that you got no idea your phone is calling.

So this person answers the phone, and they say “Hello?” and you don’t hear them, and you keep doing God-knows-what, and they can listen to this as long as they want.

The kids have a certain name for these phone calls, since they happen a lot when you sit down on the phone. But I will just be polite and call it “hiney-dialing.”

My son Gargoyle, who goes to school at LSU, must sit down very peculiar because his hiney calls me up all the time. I know it’s him because of the caller ID.

The first couple of times he called, I leaped to the conclusion any mother would, that he was dying in a ditch. I would yell “Gargoyle! Tell me where you’re at! Mommy’s coming!” and then I would hear coffee cups clinking and his voice saying “Latte, please,” or sometimes “Gimme a Bud,” and a different kind of clinking.

I don’t desire these little windows into my son’s life and he sure don’t want me to have them. When I told him, he said if it happens again I should immediately text message him “TMI!” which is college kid code for “Too Much Information.” Evidently that will ring some kind of chime on his phone and he will disconnect me.

So that’s what I do.

But it’s not always your hiney’s fault. Sometimes the phone’s in your pocket, or even your purse, and something rubs up against it – or it just decides to be evil. So it calls your mother-in-law.

And sometimes she gets to listen in on things more interesting than drinks clinking.

My late husband Lout passed to his reward years ago, but my mother-in-law, Ms. Larda, is still with me.

I also got a nice gentleman friend, Lust. He got hearing aides, which he don’t wear because he prefers to tell people to “Speak up!”

So anybody who gets called by my phone when I’m with Lust is going to get an earful. Which Ms. Larda has, once or twice, she told me with a smirk. Right then and there I stuffed my phone in a sock and carried it in my purse like that, but I couldn’t hear it when it rang.

Last week my daughter Gladiola was getting ready for her prom. She went with some boy I don’t know too good, so I started worrying and I told her to take her cell phone and call me to come get her if he does anything ungentlemanly.

 It happens to be the same night as Lust’s birthday, and I promised to treat him to a romantic dinner out. Normally I would leave my cell phone home on a night like that, but tonight I got to carry it in case Gladiola calls. I just have to be sure it don’t call Ms. Larda.

I decide if I put it in a hard case, nothing will jostle it and it won’t have no excuse to call her. I try a glasses case, but it won’t fit, and then a Band-Aid box, but it still won’t fit. Finally my eye lights on this glittery high-heeled shoe I caught at the Muses parade, back in February. (If you ain’t from here, you probably don’t know that Muses is a ladies’ parade that throws shoes. It ain’t an insult or anything. It’s a tradition.)

Well, this particular shoe ain’t no size 9 like I wear. It is more the size of what the Seven Dwarves would wear, if they wore high heels decorated with fake jewels. I cram my phone down in the toe and drop the shoe in my big purse.

Flash forward. Lust and me are at a candlelit table and he excuses himself to go to the john. The waiter comes, and I’m about to order a Scotch for him and my usual Diet Coke. Just then, my purse launches into the “Mardi Gras Mambo.” I grab for the phone, but it’s stuck in the shoe. I got to put the whole shoe to my face – the heel almost goes into my ear. I say “Gladiola?”

 “Gimme a Bud.” (Clink!)

 Gargoyle’s hiney again.

I push my finger down in the shoe, and press “text” and “TMI!”

This causes the fake jewels on this shoe to start flashing on and off.

Now the waiter is looking at me kind of odd. So are the people at the next table. And the table beyond that.

Well, my rule is, when you accidentally do something weird, pretend like you did it on purpose. I smile around at everybody and put the shoe back in my purse.

“Highly classified,” I tell the waiter. Just then Lust comes back. “You’re looking good. Nobody can take their eyes off you,” he beams at me.

I just act suave. “I’ll have a martini,” I say. “Shaken, not stirred.”

And if Ms. Larda is listening, it’ll take her a while to figure that out.

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