Released from the cell: Four hours without a phone

Last Sunday was Jen and Adam’s wedding shower. I’ve known Adam since he first hiccuped. His mom, Donna, and I have been friends since 1983 BC (Before Cellphones). The place was a lovely little restaurant on Staten Island that was down a flight of stairs, with no windows, below street level, and with zero cellphone reception. There we were, 60 or so women with nary a cellphone bar in sight. It was like being in lock-down — no access to the outside world.

I must admit when I first realized that I had no service, I sort of felt like you do when dreaming you’re trying to give a speech about sewing while naked to a crowd of people that all have their clothes on — dry mouth, sweating cold and frightened … very frightened. That lasted about 60 seconds. Then, I heaved a giant sigh of relief. Nobody would know where I was. No husband calls for four hours. I was truly unfettered and untethered.

For my daughter, Bri, the event was catastrophic. Since she’s had a cellphone attached to her from birth, she spent the hours going through cellphone withdrawal, which symptoms include the inability to focus on any normal conversation, and aimlessly moving thumbs up and down. These manifestations come about thanks to the hours of repetition — whether in the car, at home, out to diner, or watching TV — necessary to texting and “BBM’ing” every move to a contact list longer than my arm. I’ve grown so used to it that I didn’t realize her thumbs finally stopped for 20 minutes.

I’m not saying that cellphones don’t serve a useful service, at times a they come in handy. Case in point, a guest at the shower, Cristina, got stuck in the loo because the lock jammed — and no one could hear her call over the din of 60 women chatting away. The poor girl was about to pull a Rambo and climb over the top of the stall to extricate herself when, just in the nick of time, one of the staff heard her screams and came to the rescue. If her cellphone had service, she would have been able to call one of us at the table to let her out — well, that’s if we could hear the ring over all the catching up, laughing and cackling that was going on. But I’m sure someone would have it set to vibrate.

For the most part, cellphones have become a necessary evil — just like Facebook, e-mails and Google searches — that we can no longer function without.

Not for nuthin, but when there was a pay phone on every corner, all you needed was a roll of dimes and you were in business. No bars, no service, no call. Yipeeee!

[email protected].

PS: To Donna’s dad, Andy Corletto, thanks for reading Not for Nuthin.