Anxious day while cell phone was hiding

Published 6:45 am Wednesday, September 6, 2023

By Bonnie Brown

We humans are creatures of habit. Our routines/rituals are part of our DNA. I think we acquire some habits from observing how others do things. 

For instance, my mother had a system for making the bed. She used the “hospital method” for making the beds in our house.  

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I remember that early on, we didn’t have fitted bottom sheets, so it was more problematic than today’s style. I tend to make my beds the same way she did. Tuck and tuck.

Sometimes we develop these habits out of necessity. For me, I have a lot of routines that I don’t even think about when doing them – the way I carry my purse, the way I organize things, even the way I apply my makeup, etc.  

Recently, I hopped into the car to go do some errands. I always seem to be in a hurry, so these routines help immensely – usually. I always put my phone in my right pocket, usually a tissue in the left pocket. I backed out of the garage and was well on my way when I patted my right pocket, and my phone was not there.  

Like others, I never leave the house without my phone. It is one of those habits that we all have adopted since the cell phone became a part of our everyday life. I had a moment of frustration that I had forgotten my phone and hoped that I didn’t miss a call, didn’t need to call for assistance, or didn’t need to respond to or send a text message while I was out.  

I had to remind myself that having a cell phone at my fingertips when I was out and about was a fairly recent routine. Back in the day, if I needed to make a call while I was out, I simply located the nearest pay phone. They were everywhere. And so long as you had a dime, you were able to call. And I also had to remember the phone number of the person or business with which I wanted to communicate.  

I mentally ran through possibilities of what things could go wrong now that I was out driving and doing errands without my phone. You know, maybe the car would malfunction, perhaps a flat tire, or there could be an emergency with one of my family members or friends who might need me. 

What if I missed a call from Publishers Clearing House?  Oh, never mind. I got that phone message on our land line last week. 

As I realized that these emergencies were very unlikely to occur, I was calmer and realized that I used to travel extensively with no cell phone, and I couldn’t recall a single emergency.  

Yes, there may have been a missed opportunity to hear from a friend or family member or get that reminder phone call about an upcoming appointment, but certainly no emergency.  

I was able to refocus my attention and travel on when I sneezed and reached in my left pocket for the ever-present tissue, and there was my phone nestled in with the tissue in my left pocket!  

Funny thing, I realized that my habit had failed, and the phone wound up in the wrong pocket.  So much for my fail-proof habit.  

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