The Day My Son Almost Got on a Plane Alone Without His Cellphone

Early Sunday morning we dropped Chandler off at the airport for an overnight trip to Washington D.C. Yep that’s right, 2700 miles across the country and back in 36 hours so he could check out a college that’s much too far from home in my opinion. (What if he meets a girl there. And marries her. And never comes home!) I watched him walk away then looked to see if he forgot anything and saw his phone on the backseat.

His phone.

cell phone
Oops!

Dave hopped out of the car and called him before he went inside the terminal. As he handed over the phone Chandler said, “That would be bad.”

Yes it would.

Nobody was picking up Chandler at the airport in DC. He was taking the Metro to the university he was visiting and meeting the student whose dorm he was staying in. The student was going to text Chandler where to meet him. Without his phone that meeting would have been close to impossible.

It’s crazy how dependent we’ve become on our phones. Why look something up on a map when your phone is equipped with a high-tech GPS navigation system? Traffic on the freeway? No need to wait ten minutes for an update on news radio, just check out Waze for an alternate route. Your toddler bored in line at the market? Hand her your phone so she can play a game and stop whining about it. Email, Facebook, your camera, hell even a flashlight – all on your phone.

And when we need to get in touch with someone? Instead of calling them we text. Ironically our dependence on cellphones has made actually talking on the phone nearly obsolete.

Dave and I tried to speculate what would have happened if I hadn’t seen the phone. When would Chandler have noticed and what would he have done? He’s really responsible and leaving his phone behind is out of character for him. I’m sure he was just distracted, maybe a bit nervous about his trip. But I worried, was this kid really ready to go away to school?

I don’t think I’m as dependent on my phone as most people seem to be. I rarely use it check my email or Facebook or Twitter status. I’m terrible at texting. In fact, I forget my phone all the time.

But I will admit that I am dependent on my kids having their phones. I like to keep tabs and keep them close. We used to have Chandler text us when he got to his destination when he first started driving. And we still ask him to text us when he’s on his way home.

When we got home from the airport I told Marley what happened and then said, “I think at dinner this week we’ll have to have a discussion about this and what you guys would do if you were traveling alone and didn’t have your phone.”

She rolled her eyes. “Really, Mom? I’d just find a mom or an an airport employee and tell them I was a lost little girl and could I please borrow their phone to call my mommy.”

I met  her eye roll with a sigh. I suppose she would. That girl’s got some street smarts. (As most girls do.) But would Chandler? I wan’t so sure.

After he got home I did ask him what he would have done. He shrugged, “It depends when I noticed.”

“What if you noticed before you got on the plane?” I asked.

“I’d use someone’s phone to call you or call my phone.”

“What if you noticed after you were on the plane and it was too late to get your phone back?”

“I’d find a way to call you when I got to DC then take the metro to the school. He texted me. You could have read me his text.”

“But Chandler,” I said, “what if your phone wasn’t in the car? What if you lost your phone?”

He shrugged again. “But I didn’t, Mom.”

No, he didn’t. I don’t know why I was skeptical that he’d know what to do. He is eighteen. And he’s smart. (Plus, am an awesome mom.) It would have been inconvenient for him not to have his phone. Perhaps even difficult. But like all of us when we forget our phones, he would have survived.

And I probably would have too.

Why I Should Never Walk Out the Door Without my Cellphone

Modern life has made cellphones somewhat of a necessity. Any mother will tell you that they need for their children to have a phone so they can always know where they are. It’s also quite helpful with the arranging of after-school or after-sport pick-ups. Of course we grown-ups need our cellphones too. How else is our husband supposed to let us know we’re out of milk? (And more importantly how are we going tweet about the long line at the post office?) Unfortunately, much to my family and friends’ dismay I am sort of known for forgetting my cellphone. And it always seems to bite me in the ass. Just last week I was standing in line at the bank and saw Angelyne. I had the perfect shot of her to text to my friends (OMG – look who is at the bank!), though admittedly if I had had my phone I probably would have chickened out and not taken it. If you are scratching your head wondering who the LA phenomenon known as Angelyne is, Google Image her. Or just click here. I’ll wait here while you wash your eyes out. (I know, you can’t un-see that. So sorry.) Yes, she really does dress like that. And yes, she is elevendy. (My friend Tina brilliantly called Angelyne a cross between Debbie Harry and Phyllis Diller. Hot Damn, Tina is funny!) A couple of days later I was at Trader Joe’s and saw some dude wearing a light-colored Hawaiian-type shirt with dark yellow pineapples all over it and contrasting dark-colored shorts with light yellow pineapples. It looked like a grown-up version of Garanimals that had gone horribly wrong. I think he was being ironic? Or maybe he just had really bad taste. Either way, it would have been nice to snap a sneaky photo to snarkily text to my friends à la People of Wallmart style. So obviously I have to be more careful and stop leaving my house without my phone. Forget about my husband or kids needing to get a hold of me. Every time I leave my house without my phone I see something spectacular.

Hawaiian-shirt-shorts-combo
If only the pineapple outfit had been this “stylish!”

Photo credit: thefader.com