Apathy Jack writes:
So, the cellphone thing again.
The reason I went twenty-eight years without one of these toys was because I decided early on that I wouldn't get one until I needed one. They're tools, and in exactly the same way I wasn't going to buy a chisel to carry around and talk loudly into while people glared at me on the bus, the need had never arisen.
Anyway, there's this kid who's not safe at home. She can't leave for reasons that are far too unpleasant to go into. If she's not coming into school, she knows to text me in the morning so that I know she is alright. She hasn't turned up by the time my first class starts filing in, so I text her. I get back a clipped reply saying she is sick. This doesn't alleviate my concern, but gets me through my third formers. In my free period, I call her, but get her voicemail. I text her again, saying little more than "I'm still worried", which I hope she will recognise as a surreptitious request for proof that it is really her texting me and not her father (again: far too unpleasant to go into).
She does, and replies with a couple of facts that I know her father doesn't know.
Placated, I sit down to do some work, when my phone immediately starts beeping again. It's one of my lot in her English class. She's done some work on an internal assessment, but she doesn't trust her own teacher to check it. She asks if I can look at it before she hands it in.
Two minutes later she's in my room, note excusing her to go to the toilet in one hand, stealthily smuggled-out project in the other.
Shortly after she leaves, the bell for interval rings, and one of my lot borrows my phone. She's had some ridiculously convoluted breakdown with her family (she spent several minutes talking me through it, but I couldn't keep up) and needs to talk to her sister. But her sister has blocked her number.
She retires to a corner and has a hushed argument for several minutes.
That night I fall into bed at about nine-thirty, which I've been doing a lot lately. After a while, I'm awoken by the dulcet tones of my phone beeping at me. I figure it's the alarm, but notice that it's only ten-thirty and that I've received a text. It's my girl – the first one – saying that she's topped up her credit and listened to the message on her voicemail. She realises how worried I must have been, and promises to be more careful next time. I reply, apologising for being an old worrier, but she tells me Im realy hapy dat u r keepin n eye n me.
As it turns out, this thing has its uses.
Of course, I'd just like to point out two things to those now gloating about my transition to the twenty-first century:
1) I was right – I didn't need one of these before. The fact I do now doesn't change the fact that I was right for all those years.
2) No, you still can't have my number. If I wanted you fuckers calling me, I would have got a cellphone years ago...