Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Separation Anxiety...or How my Cell Phone Wound Up in the Toilet and I Wasted My Entire Afternoon.

When I woke up this morning, I should have called in sick. I should have realized it was going to be that kind of day.

It started out normal enough. Woke up, bleary-eyed, late, sleep-deprived, and rushed to throw some clothes, scrambled to get the kids dressed, fed, bags packed for school and gym class, tidied up the kitchen, made sure the recycling was put out, made sure dog was fed and let out, ate some breakfast myself, got caffeinated, got in a few political comments with Monkey Sr. (Oh Elliot. Is any prostitute really worth $1,000 a night?). etc.

Dropped Monkey Sr. off at bus stop, dropped Little Monkey off at school, and began the morning routine with Miss Mina. Did the usual Wednesday stops, then headed to gym class.

The only thing I did differently today was decide that it would be safe to escape for two minutes to the bathroom to pee.

During class.

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

I thought Miss Mina would be safe in the capable care of the two gym instructors, who agreed to look out for her for a minute. I ran to the bathroom, located within the gym enclosure itself. I sprinted, trying to be all stealth-like.

But she saw me.

And then, all hell broke out.

Even as I shut the door, I heard her shrieks and tiny toddler hands begin to pound the wood separating us. Hysterical screams, accompanied by soothing voices of the entire gym class trying to calm my daughter down.

"Mina, even mommies need a potty break," the instructor said. Clearly audible through the door. I heard other moms laugh.

Inside, in the one place where any reasonable person assumes a certain degree of privacy and peace, I freaked out. I'm usually pretty good at ignoring my children crying, but this was no ordinary appeal. She was having a full blown separation anxiety attack.

I scrambled with silly things like pulling up my pants, and in the process, my cell phone - which I always try to keep on me so I can be reached by Jordan's school in an emergency (oh-so-responsible mom that I am) fell from my back pocket into the toilet.

Fell. Into. The. Toilet. At. Kiddie. U.

I'll admit, for just one second, the thought crossed my mind. "Just flush it. There's no way I'm reaching in and grabbing that thing." But even as I thought it, I knew with my miserable luck, the toilet would clog, overflow, and I would be humiliated beyond humiliation and forever known as the mom who broke the toilet at Kiddie U. They'd probably revoke our membership.

I fished it out, sopped it up with flimsy brown paper towels, stuffed it back into my pocket, washed up, and retrieved my child. Although not a full two minutes could have passed from beginning to end, she behaved as though she had been abandoned in the cold, like an orphan. Tears were streaming down her cheeks, and she sobbed. Great big heaving sobs to remind me that under no circumstances was I ever to pee while on duty again. Ever.

And to spite me, she refused to play in class. All she wanted to do was curl up in a corner and hold me, arms wrapped around me tight. All right, that part was cute, and we cuddled for the rest of the class. But then, she had her payback.

We got home. One call to customer service later, I learned the miserable truth. No insurance. No warranty. No chance for an upgrade or replacement phone. No new contract. No discounts. No sympathy. No nothing. Nada. Zip. Sorry sucker. Go buy a new phone.

Phone calls, Internet searches, wasted driving time, and multiple attempts to find a cheap phone later...I found myself where it all began.


Hell is standing at the "help" kiosk of the so-called legitimate AT&T wireless store, where I wound up pleading with a clerk to take pity on me and sell me a functioning phone at a reasonable price.

He misunderstood me and thought I was asking to be hosed like a moron and stripped of my last dime.

me: "When I called customer service, they said I could go to any AT& T store, and they would have this basic model, the $30 replacement model that provided just the bare minimum features I would need to wireless service."

him: Umm...ya know, this is my first day and all...let me check with the manager.


him: "Uh..yeah. We don't have that."

me: "Why would customer service tell me that this phone is carried by all the AT& T stores, and you're telling me you don't have that?"

him: silence.

me: (sighing the weary sigh of the condemned) Just show me what you have.

Fast forward to now..

the new cell phone, which I already hate, is sitting on my kitchen counter charging. I've lost ninety percent of my contact lists because the SIM card got messed up during its pee break. I have no idea how to work any of the features because I'd rather sit here and bitch than read the instruction manual, and I'm dreading setting up the stupid voice mail and assorted other nonsense that needs to be done to have a functioning phone in society.

This is why I am not a techie-techie person.

You better hide, Beanie.
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