Stealth and cellphones…and watches…oh my!

J has a thing against cell phones.  I think this aversion has replaced his aversion to watches.  Or maybe not.  Perhaps it has attached itself to his aversion to watches.  Dada has a lovely Ministry of Silly Walks watch (what better way to note the passing of time at work than watching John Cleese bend his legs in all impossible directions,) and J will insist on it being taken off the moment that Dada walks into our home.  Should Dada not place it in its proper spot in the drawer where he keeps his ties, J will bury it so far back into any other drawer that it might take days to find it.

Yesterday, after searching high and low (far and wide, top to bottom, back to front, in and out, logical and illogical) for Dada’s cell phone, we broke down and bought another one.  Now, don’t think for a moment, please, that we’re talking iPhone or Android or any other fancy type of phone here.  We mean “oh, look, it’s fifteen dollars and the key pad is HUGE!” cell phone.  We mean pay-as-you-go, and “wow…fifteen dollars and it has a camera?????,” or “well, it has only ONE rather annoying ringtone, but IT’S ONLY FIFTEEN DOLLARS!!!!!!!!!”  That’s the kind of cell phone we’re talking about here…

Before I go into the next part of the cellphone saga I MUST make an aside.  In all sorts of movies and TV shows, even in books, you hear that this or that criminal has used an untraceable disposable phone.  Gus Fring would snap them in half and toss them in garbage cans in Breaking Bad, and Jack Bauer in 24 goes everywhere with the same number regardless of how “dark” his level of undercover is, or how rogue he has gone…  Cellphones mystify me.  I cannot fathom walking around with that thing in my hand like a lifeline, but they’re an in-case-of-emergency tool we’d “lost.”  Setting the darned thing up (even for a pay-as-you-go) is more convoluted than all these story lines in all these TV shows would indicate.  Why they have criminals tossing phones left and right when you have to give name, address, e-mail is beyond me.

But I digress…

After spending about 20 minutes trying to open the box wherein the cellphone rested in its plastic sarcophagus, I spent another half hour entering all the identifying information for the unit (because the keypad might be huge, but the stickers with all the info require a magnifying glass,) and then another ten minutes trying to get Dada to come up with a PIN and password he will remember easily.  By the time the thing had been activated, I was exhausted and asking myself WHY do we need a cellphone.  The deed is done…we are once more connected to the ether and can be reached if TGG cannot find the “right” kind of lettuce at the store.

Today is MLK Day so J is home.  They’ve already canceled Presidents’ Day to make up for the snow days, and a still-far-off date in May (that would have given us an extra long weekend) is also gone.  TGG left the house early so he could get to work with plenty of time, and Dada was heading out when I heard a very loud, hearty laugh from the hallway closet.  This could mean just about anything, people; we’ve found cats sleeping in the bowl where we keep change in there; we’ve found a shoe in the canvas grocery bag basket…

But I knew, with the most absolute certainty, that Dada was laughing because the cellphone we’ve been searching for (the Holy Grail…Eldorado…Jimmy Hoffa…Amelia Earhart…Noah’s Ark have deserved nearly as much attention) was there…sitting neatly, visibly, nonchalantly on the shelf…  We met in the dining area, two adults struck by the understanding that J is a mastermind at the game of cellphone-hiding.  That the young man had been stealthy enough to replace the phone AS WE ALL SAT THERE HAVING COFFEE is indicative of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon-like abilities.  Perhaps -and we might never be able to confirm or deny this- J can levitate, or he has Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak.

Dada suggested, of course, that I activate the newfound cellphone, but I would have to go through the whole rigmarole again…trying, on top of everything, to figure out where I can put it that J won’t find it and hide it once more.  I know this sounds like an abundance of caution on my part, but if you’d “lost” and “found” as many cellphones/watches as we have, you’d be asking yourself if you need a J-proof vault.

After Dada left for work, I went about the business of making beds, setting J up with work to do, and doing the administrative tasks that are required by my role as the family “paper person.”  At around nine o’clock I decided to get J’s new cube-unit from the garage so he could assemble it, and as I walked by the kitchen I realized that the cellphone and its charger had, surprise surprise, vanished.  “J!!!!!!!!  Come here, please!!!!!”  There’s a look on your kids’ faces that tells you a) they are guilty, b) they are trying to NOT look guilty, c) they know they are caught, and d) they will do their best to wriggle out of whatever situation they’re in.  J had that EXACT look on his face.

I asked about the cellphone, and he looked at me as if I’d just asked the most amazingly nonsensical question.  He even patted his non-existent chest pockets and looked at the ceiling (as if, somehow) the cellphone had decided to float away.  I tapped my foot twice and asked again.  With drooping shoulders, J tramped back to some remote corner and returned with the charger in one hand, and the cellphone in the other.  “This costs money, my friend,” I said.  He shrugged and rolled his eyes.  “No, no shrugging!  This costs money and I will NOT keep buying more just because you hide them and then, poof, bring them back.”

I stomped up the stairs to our bedroom, closed the door behind me, searched for a discreet-enough outlet, and plugged the cellphone in to charge.  I could NOT have been quieter…

Neither could have J.  When I opened the door, there he was.  Nimble, quiet, stealthy, with more strategies than Machiavelli himself…or Droopy to my Wolf.  The jury’s still out on that one…tex3

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