the conspiracy files
cell phone has a personality disorder
By Lilly Ghahremani
January 15, 2004
"Hey Punny -- I just got home -- hold
on for a sec, let me get my keys --"
"Okay, but why don't I just --"
I shift my mail to the other hand, rolling my eyes
at the phone bills that stare back at me, and dig deeper into the
that is My Purse.
"Wait, they're right here. C'mon
keys! One second --"
It happens every night -- the conversation I was carrying
on as I walked home down my street comes to an abrupt end as soon
as I get to my apartment door.
I can faintly hear my friend's voice.
"Lil, honey, I can't hear you..."
"Hold on, let me find somewhere I get reception."
Quickly, I move, ripping off my coat my coat like
an adulterous spouse on a short lunch break while simultaneously
trying to place
myself in line with the almighty Sprint satellite. I will not
lose this time.
"What did you say, Lil?"
My friend cannot hear me, and frankly, I cannot
blame her. I am now hanging over the side of my couch, bringing
the phone as close
to the ground as I can. Previous trials have suggested that the
satellite might work right...here! The conversation immediately
becomes a bit clearer.
"Okay, start back at dinner." I can sense her frustration.
"The waitress came, you ordered -- then what did he say?"
I am relieved. We are back in business. "He said
"Lil, I can't hear you again."
"Argh. Okay, wait..." I run to my
bedroom and stand near the window. "Can you hear me now?"
I have officially become that commercial. But I
am determined. I will stand here and let the freezing night air
rush into my room
(Author's Note: Dear Friends and Family -- Yes, I know,
I live in San Diego, but I'm creating a scene, people)
I will not hang up. I will not hang up. I WILL NOT
Fortunately, I don't have to. She already has.
Moments later, my house phone rings. It's a crisp
ring; a mocking ring; a ring that says that this will be a no-nonsense
phone call. That Person A will speak and that Person B will then
be capable of responding to the expressed sentiments with alacrity,
on-point, and in uninterrupted sentences.
I answer, cringing. "Hi. Sorry 'bout that."
"It's okay. I'm used to it."
And she is. Everyone is. It is well known that my
cell phone has a personality disorder. During the day in this very
it sings like a bird, luring me into conversations that go on
for an hour, easy. Conversations that have an average substantive
of negative one. ("You drank too much coffee today toooooo?
But come evening, when I'm ready to teach Sprint
a lesson about trying to pull one over on a Ghahremani, determined
it's "Krsshshshshshst". Snow. Static. Nothing.
Being the card-carrying Iranian I am, I have found
an explanation. It's simple and has, of course, been validated
by at least
one (1) of my Iranian friends, therefore making it TRUE. Here
it is: My landline phone company is clearly in cahoots with my
They met, perhaps in a dimly lit underground room
suspiciously close to the White House (where some of my "most
favored conspiracies" are homed). And they (Behemoth Phone
Corporations, Inc.) have agreed that my cell phone will cease
to provide service within the walls of my apartment at precisely
time when my beloved "free" minutes should be taking
effect. It never fails. (Oh, except at 1 a.m. when my east
coast friends "drunk dial" me. At least these companies have
a sense of humor about it.)
I file this thought in my Conspiracy Files, lodging
it between "God Loves Sefeeds More Than Us: The Geography of Iranian
Hair" and "Racism:
Why Starbucks Doesn't Serve doogh." Some call it conspiracy
theory -- I call it the nasty, nasty truth.
Not wavering in my
convictions, I eye the mail and make a mental note to pay both
bills in the morning. Then I pick
up my house
phone. You see, I have calls to make.
Lilly Ghahramani is a literary
agent and authors' attorney in San Diego. Her company, Lennie
Literary Agency, actively seeks new voices, with a particular interest
in multicultural writing. For more information, please see lennieliterary.com.
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