Making the Call

May 09, 2013 View Comments by

Making the CallThe following story is a 100% true!

. . Except for the parts that have been made up.

While TV is certainly the single most life sucking invention in history, smart phones are working hard to overtake the throne. It is evident, not only with the unceasing texting as people drive, but also in the ways that friends and families constantly bury their faces in these little devices rather than interacting with each other. I like that this is virtually impossible to do when riding a motorcycle. I enjoy having the singular focus that comes with riding.

On the other hand, as a motorcyclist, any device that can foster consolidation is always welcome. I love that my iPhone can act as a music player, camera, GPS, and occasionally an Atari 2600. Recently, I learned about another great feature when I was headed home to Connecticut. I had some work to do on my dad’s KLR for my upcoming Trans-American Adventure. On the way to his house in Bolton I stopped to visit my mom in North Stonington.

When I arrived at my mom’s house I emailed my friend Rob and asked if he wanted to get together. I was shocked when he did not respond in the presumed 6.5-second window. Even though we have known each other since second grade, today I only know how to connect with him via email. Waiting for his response was more agonizing than watching oil drain from a cold engine. I was growing more desperate when suddenly something strange and wonderful happened.

My mother, sensing my desperation, walked into the room and swept one of her four cats off of the counter and produced a large book made up of thin, almost translucent paper. She began mumbling as she passed her hand through the pages. She looked up briefly, smiled, and said, “This is what old people call Googling.” She continued mumbling letters, “searching alphabetically,” I think she called it. It looked like witchcraft. Nonetheless, within seconds she had found the home address and something called a “phone number” for my friend Rob. I sat in awe of her conjuring but I still wasn’t sure how a phone number was going to help me. Sure I have an iPhone, but I just select a person’s name and send them a message. What was this “number” of which she spoke?

I thought of closing my eyes and chanting the number like a mantra. Perhaps I could will Rob to check his email? Just then my mom’s husband Wayne pointed to the wall. I followed the invisible line from his finger to a box hanging between the kitchen and the dining room. He encouraged me to pick up the “receiver” and enter the number into the keypad. I’m no fool. In high school I watched Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure like 20 times and this device on the wall resembled what they used to travel about collecting historical figures. Where did my mom get a time machine? Was Abe Lincoln in her basement? What was George Carlin thinking being in that movie? The answer to these questions would have to wait. I have always suffered from bygoneachronophobia, the little documented fear of time travel. They could sense my aversion to the wall mounted device and assured me it was ok.

I laughed as I said, “Yeah right, make calls with a time machine.” For a moment I was 16 again and pretty sure I was at least like a bazzilion times smarter than any adult ever. But I was desperate. One by one I entered the digits as my mom read them aloud, after the 10th digit a whirring sound began. I half expected Keanu Reeves and that other guy to appear in the dining room and proclaim how “totally excellent” my mom’s paper Google app was, but no such luck. But even better, I heard Rob’s voice saying “hello.” It was like Siri reading me an email if Siri sounded like Rob.

That night Rob and I got together and enjoyed a few beers. We reminisced about our youth and debated which Atari game had better graphics, Pac Man or Pitfall (it’s Pitfall by the way), all thanks to the repurposed time machine that hangs on my mom’s wall and allows people to talk to one another.

This morning I received an email from Rob. He thanked me for calling him and mentioned that my iPhone could be used for calling people as well as emailing them. Sounds pretty crazy to me, but I am sure I will look into it. Today the birds are singing and the sun is shining. Time to get the bike dirty. I send him a quick reply “gr8-2-cu-2.” It’s so much easier than calling.

Epilogue: On this same trip I discovered a GPS that does not require batteries—stay tuned for more on this amazing discovery next week!

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About the author

I am an introvert posing as an extrovert. I love travel in all forms, but prefer 2-wheels. I created AdventureHermit as a way to share my adventures and inspire others to find joy through discovery; writing for RoadRUNNER is a dream come true!