For the longest time, I had a label on my cell phone displaying the mobile number so if I lost the device the person who found it could call me. I realized how incredibly dumb this was when I left it at Ace Hardware one day and when I finally went back and found it, I had 24 messages from people who wanted me to know that it was “right here” in Lawn and Garden by the azaleas.
The other day, I went out to do a few errands and realized that I had forgotten my phone, but when I returned home, I couldn’t find it. I called it, of course, but that required dialing the number from my landline and then racing from room to room to hear the ring. I’m most proud of my sprint (no pun intended) from my third floor office to the basement in less than 4.6 seconds. But I heard nothing. Where was my cell phone?
First I called Kroger and talked to the manager at the service desk. “Where might you have left it, Sir?”
“I started out really health conscious so it could be between the asparagus and the broccoli, but then I got the munchies so I could have left it in the potato chip aisle. It’s not in the meat department. I’m trying to cut down on beef and pork because …
“Sir, this is Brad, the Kroger manager, not Dr. Oz. I’ll call you on your home phone if I find it.”
Then I remembered that I had stopped to pick up some prescription dog food.
“Yes, good morning, I was at your clinic earlier and wondered if you found a Nokia?”
“I don’t think we have any Nokias, but I know there is a Shih Tzu in the back that really needs a home.“
When I purchased my phone, I signed up for an extra feature, a way to track the location of a cell phone using a kind of GPS system. I logged into the website.
A map popped up and suddenly this little green dot started floating around a five-mile area where I had indicated I had spent the previous few hours. The dot continued to circle, searching for my lost phone. It passed over a street whose name I recognized, then moved to another location that also sounded familiar. Suddenly, it landed on the street where I live. Oh my, it was like that horror movie with Jodi Foster. IT’S IN MY HOUSE, IT’S IN MY HOUSE!
My eyes widened. The adrenalin was pumping. How did it get back in my home? Where was it hiding? Calling it was of no use because I had turned off the ringer the night before. I looked everywhere that I had ever lost my cell phone in the past: the bottom of the dog food container, the freezer, my briefcase, my wife’s pink nightgown. (Please don’t ask me to explain that; it’s not what you think.)
I called the 800 customer service number and was told that the phone, even if it was turned off, could play a tune that would help me locate it.
“Do you have a favorite song, Sir?”
I told him that I did. Suddenly, I heard “Dancing on the Ceiling” coming from the upstairs bathroom.
I still can’t believe where the phone actually was, but I’ll tell you this: Lionel Richie sounds even better when he sings in the shower.