Among other destinations, the spirit led my family and a plate of cookies to our friend Ethel’s house last Christmas Eve. I swung open our minivan’s passenger-door, plate of cookies in hand, and two things happened at once, so fast I almost missed them both. One, the stick-on bow that I had affixed to the tin foil-covered plate of cookies slid off its perch. Two, the cell phone in my coat pocket slipped out, hit the street’s pavement, and ricocheted right into a storm drain.
I just bought that cell phone. Three weeks ago. I even purchased insurance should it be damaged. I even purchased a very expensive, very hard case/enclosure system that would protect this cell phone in the event of nuclear war, fire bombs, and toddlers. The “otter box,” as it’s called, reminds me of a sat phone MacGyver might have used, back when they were the size of small boom boxes.
The insurance I purchased doesn’t cover cell phone loss due to low elevations in the bottoms of storm drains.Our only hope was a manhole cover at the top of the storm drain. Correction: our other hope was my husband, who thought to pry up the manhole with a tire iron stored under our carjack. And so he did.
Did I also mention that this was a family outing with all the children? We were bonding over taking cookies to people who whim and the spirit led us to. So the four of us (Tiny stayed in the car) took turns peering down into the seven-foot storm drain at a mess of dry leaves and plastic bags. We could not see the cell phone.But we knocked on Ethel’s door, handed her the cookies with a Merry Christmas Eve!, and then asked if we could borrow her ladder. Mark lowered it into the manhole while I stood next to him and fretted that he would hurt his arm or shoulder or that the ladder would fall over once inside. And then he inserted himself into the hole and climbed down the ladder while I fretted some more and Ethel and the girls stood around watching. The girls said, ohhh, ohhh, oh. And I said, be careful! And Mark batted the leaves around with the tire iron once he got to the bottom, but he could not find the cell phone. Until he got to a small tunnel/pipe thingy (presumably the route the water takes out of the storm drain as it fills up) and moved a plastic bag and some leaves around and there the phone was.
And he climbed up the ladder, and he handed the phone to me. And he pulled the ladder out of the manhole and replaced the cover. And my otter-box encased phone looked as good as it could be. It could have survived nuclear war, fire bombs, or toddlers. But it chose a storm drain. Good for it. Branching out.Earlier this week I got a second-degree burn on my hand. Two months ago I got a concussion after a glass light fixture fell on my head.
My friends want to build a phone- and heat- and glass-proof membrane that I can surround myself with at all times, which is okay with me as long as it is chocolate-permeable. Because there are only two food groups in the world: chocolate and everything else. And I wouldn’t want my diet to get off because I didn’t get an adequate amount of cacao bean through the phone-/heat-/glass-proof membrane/bubble thingy my friends want to build. I wish them good luck with that.And as a postscript, if you’re wondering if I’m accepting See’s candy right now: I am. My supply is off to a really good start. It seems people read my blog post last week and I received more than two pounds of See’s chocolates over Christmas as gifts. I can always make room in our cupboard for more, should the urge strike you. Unfortunately for you locals, the See’s candy kiosk is closed at the local mall. You’ll have to mail order, people. You’ll have to mail order.