Universe! O! Universe!

Why doth thou taunt me so?

Yesterday afternoon. I’m hanging out at Barnes & Noble, taking a short break from the animal madness of the household (read: Let me out! Feed me kibble! Rub my belly! Give me water! Let me in! Scratch my butt!) and getting some much-needed work done. Two large Diet Pepsis into the experience, and I’m ready to check out the facilities.

I walk in and set myself up in front of the urinal, when what do I hear coming from the damned stall next to me..?


Buzz, buzz, jibber, jibber.

“No. I’m at Barnes & Noble. …In the bathroom.”

Jibber, jabber, jibber.

“Yeah. I’m talking to you, and I’m on the toilet.

Jibber, jabber, jabber, jabber.

“Well, you called.”

I ball up my free hand and shake it at the heavens. I finish up, wash, and walk out.

And as I’m leaving, the son of a bitch is still on the freakin’ phone!

Doesn’t he know what can happen?!?

Oh, no. That’s not it. Is it?

It’s cell phone karma. And the Universe? It’s just turning the screws.

In the drink

No two ways about it…Thursday was a shitty day.

Forget what I wrote about last Wednesday. Well, at least the part about answering my phone. The other stuff is still firmly intact.

If you try to call me on my cell, you will be immediately routed to my voice mail. I will not answer. Or, more applicable, CANNOT answer.

Why, you may ask? Because my cell phone is no longer functioning, I say.

OlurrromWhy, you may ask? I hang my head in shame.

Because. I. Dropped. It. In…the…toilet.

Yes. It’s a true story.

Robbye had a chiro appointment Thursday morning. With no coffee in the house, we decided to grab a cuppa joe at a Dunn Bros. near the chiro office. Innocent enough, right?

So Rob heads off to her appointment, and I stick around Dunns to work for awhile. Still fine. And after a hour or so of tapping away, well…nature calls. I know Rob’s due to resurface soon, so I grab my phone and take it with me to the restroom. ‘Cause I’m thinking, what if she needs to get ahold of me. And…you know, er…this could take awhile. ‘Nuff said.

I’m on the throne, and everything’s just hunky-dory. And then I reach over to, uh…obtain a section of tissue. Next thing I know, there’s this sliding feeling against my belly and then a splashy “ploomp!”

I realize exactly what’s happening in real time. Basically, a few days prior, the pocket on the front of my Woodstock Film Festival hoody ripped. When I bent forward, my phone slid around inside of the pocket. With the stitching gone, there was no barrier to stop the thing when it hit the seam. And it just kept on a-sliding.

There’s no time to react. All I can do is groan. My soul deflates.

And my freakin’ cell phone, with every business and personal contact number to my name (I am not very good at backing the information up in, like, a spreadsheet or something…you know, like a responsible person), is submerged. And the lone path to rescuing it is of the Andy Dufresne variety.

Shit. Literally. What am I gonna do?

Well, I certainly can’t flush. That would send the phone on a “let’s clog the Dunn Bros. plumbing and cause hundreds of dollars in damage” journey. I have no choice but to roll up my damned sleeve, reach in, and retrieve the thing. And fast! If there’s any chance of saving it, that is.

So I do it. I will spare you the crappy details, if you will.

I pull it out and it’s dripping wet, but the display’s still working, so I take that as a good sign. Yet, as I hold it, I can just feel the E. Coli running riot over the thing. I gotta, like, rinse it off at least. More appropriately, probably dunk it in bleach. Ack!

I opt for the rinsing. I take the phone over to the sink and, as gingerly as possible, try to rinse it off without causing further damage. Then I remove the back cover, take out the battery, and try to dry off the insides.

When I put the battery back in…nothing. The phone is dead.

All together now…heavy sigh.

I was laid low the rest of the day. Thank God for my wonderful wife. Moved by my dropping countenance, my shuffling step, and my sad puppy eyes, she stopped my the World Market and brought me home a healing surprise. Behold, the power of Skullsplitter.

I don’t know what I’m gonna do now. The phone was acting up, anyway, and I kept saying that one day I was going to return it to Samsung for a replacement. I wonder if they’d accept it now? If not, I suggested to Robbye this morning that it might be a good time for me to consider an iPhone.

That landed like a lead balloon.

“So Crates” in-the-making

I’m in the middle of a meeting yesterday, and my cell phone rings. I am trying to turn over a new leaf, so I am working very hard to, you know, like, answer it. And I see that it’s my daughter, Sydney, on the other end. We’ve been trying hard to wrangle a few loose ends on the financial aid front, so I excuse myself momentarily to take her call.

“Hey, Syd. What’s up?”

“Hey, Dad. …I don’t know. I’m sitting here with a moment to myself, and I wanted to bounce something off you.”

“Shoot,” says I, thinking it’s the kind of “bounce this off you” that takes a minute or so. It ain’t. But it’s all good. Quite cool, in fact.

She tells me that she’s considering a double major in political science (which she’s already declared) and, of all things, philosophy. She’s taking this class–a survey course of sorts, I am guessing–and it seems like the scholarly heavens are opening up to her.

I see it clearly. The depth of her conversation over the course of recent months–even in short bursts via phone–is obviously deeper. It’s nuanced and intriguing. And the information she’s taking in, she’s processing and then generating whole new ideas and connections and opinions.

Seeing this transformation makes my heart sing.

And then there’s the matter of…

“I’ve always thought that you’re a born philosopher,” I say after she lays it all out before me.

“Well,” she responds. “I would say more that I’ve been raised to be a philospher. After all, I am your daughter, Dad.”

I gotta tell ya, standing in the middle of a public place at that moment was a difficult proposition. ‘Cause my heart was suddenly in my throat.

“Yeah,” I reply, my cool only marginally intact. “There is that.”

“I still want to do law school, but it seems like there’s a really close relationship between political science and philosphy. I have my philosophy class right after my political science class, and I notice how a lot of the terms and concepts are almost identical. I’m thinking that it might be a good thing. Make me more well-rounded.”

My little girl. All grown up. Blossoming into quite the amazing young woman.

She asked me if I thought it was a good idea to explore the whole philosphy angle.

Let’s see…Sydcomicmy kid’s in college and actually taking to heart the whole “higher learning, expand your horizons” aspect of the experience, as opposed to merely marking time till the paper mill spits some empty and meaningless document at her.

Yeah, kiddo, I think it’s a good idea.

And I am proud–oh, so proud–to be your dad.