Sunday, March 20, 2011

Past Deadline: Connected Like the Super Powers

I have a new boyfriend. (Shh! Don’t tell Groom-boy.)

My boyfriend is small, sleek, shiny and emits noises that make me giggle. When I want him to be quiet I just turn him off and he doesn’t argue about it. I can charge him up by walking away and take him with me wherever I go without complaint.

I got a CrackBerry. I mean BlackBerry™.

I’m going to call him George.

George is red. I have wanted a red phone forever (I know, I know. Small things.) A friend of mine has a red phone in her basement and I have coveted it for my office. At some point (I blame the ’80s) the Cold War/Red Phone thing must have really intrigued me. “Mr. President? This is the Kremlin.” You know I am the go-to girl for those “we’re about to push the nuke button” type of calls.

And don’t forget the Bat Phone is red. And I’m Bat Girl. Er...batty girl. Whatever.

Anyway, when I began to think the time had come for a cell phone, I knew it would have to be red. After all, I now have the option of being constantly connected, just like the Super Powers™. (Regular readers, though, will probably correctly assume I turn it off at night. After all, Utah might be calling.)

Groom-boy has a BlackBerry™ (not red), but he takes it with him for the daily commute to Ottawa. It’s a safety feature. Besides, you never know when you might encounter alien abductions or pianos falling from the sky. Always a risk on the 417.

Generally I work from home, but there are times when I have to be away. Sometimes I would borrow Groom-boy’s phone if travelling any distance. It would make strange noises at me periodically as he received e-mails and other messages.

More and more I came to realize a smart phone would serve me quite well. For one thing, I wouldn’t have to worry about leaving Groom-boy at risk of alien abductions. Secondly, I would be reachable for Calls From the School (my favourite – not).I also realized it would be a handy office assistant for me.

See, I am a one-person show. When I am away from the home office, there is no one answering the phone or checking e-mails – and I get a lot of e-mails. That’s where George is proving to be very handy. Now if I am expecting an important call or message, George and I can deal with it while I’m away from the office, even if I am gallivanting in a forest (because that happens so often).

I love George. He is red. And he makes me laugh. Everyone should have an office assistant that makes you giggle. My e-mail alert is a bicycle bell. It’s such a happy little sound. Someone remarked, as it went off in my pocket one day, that is also sounds a bit like the cha-ching of a cash register and asked if I was getting paid.

During a recent e-mail exchange with a friend, I jokingly asked if he could send random one-word e-mails periodically throughout the day so my bell would ring. Of course he reminded me of the experiment with Pavlov’s dog. Now I think someone should give me a brownie every time I get an e-mail.

I’ve set another alert to be a sonar ping. I don’t know why that makes me giggle (see “small things,” above), but it does. You know, in this world where crazy bad things happen to people all the time, I’m going to take the little giggles when I can.

And when I feel stressed, I just look into George’s face and see a tranquil beach scene. Oh, sweet George.

I’m trying really hard not to be one of those people who walks along the sidewalk fiddling with his or her CrackBerry, but the novelty of it makes that difficult. It’s like the first blush of love, when you can’t get enough of one another. Of course if I start going to bed at night and dreaming about sonar pings and bicycle bells, that might be a good sign to cool off the romance a bit.

Still. Red phones are hard to ignore.
Published in The Perth Courier, March 17/11

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