Umbilical Cord

Ron Nagasawa
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Wednesday - January 14, 2009
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Lately I’ve been thinking on whether cell phones are a wonder or a curse. I guess being able to communicate with nearly anyone on a 24/7 basis is a good thing. Sometimes though, it’s like wearing one of those ankle monitors, which are used to keep track of house-confined prisoners.

Back before the era of wireless personal communication, I made pretty great use of landline phones. In the first few years of my marriage, I called my wife every day from work to see what she was doing and to flirt with her like young couples do.

Don’t get me wrong, we still have romance in our lives, but the phone calls turned into more of an obligatory chore. When wireless cell phones became the norm, I was totally accessible, to the point where communication with my wife was on an as-needed basis.


Still, there is an unspoken understanding that I will answer the phone anytime she calls or return her calls immediately.

I have a pretty good track record and never realized what would happen if I didn’t answer my phone - until the other night, that is.

I was still at the office, and our 19-year-old son, who is home from college for winter break, was having dinner in town with some good friends. He didn’t have any transportation besides TheBus as all our cars were tied up, and he was to call me to pick him up and bring him home, although I didn’t know that at the time.

It’s rare, but I inadvertently left my cell phone on my desk and went downstairs to talk to some people. That turned into me being away from my phone for about 90 minutes. When I got back to my office and picked up my cell, I saw that I had 17 missed calls!

As I scrolled through the missed call list I saw what might have transpired. The first five calls were from my son. The next 10 were from my wife in various formats - text, voice mails and forwarded calls from my office landline. I guess after being unable to reach me, they pulled out the big guns.

I then had a call from my mother-in-law’s cell phone and finally one from my own mother. They must have figured that even if I was in a meeting with the president of the United States, I would answer the phone if either one of them called.

Chain-of-command, you know.

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