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From the conspiracy files
My 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 black hole 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! 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 that --"

"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 HANG UP!

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 same apartment, it sings like a bird, luring me into conversations that go on for an hour, easy. Conversations that have an average substantive value of negative one. ("You drank too much coffee today toooooo? No wayyyy!")

But come evening, when I'm ready to teach Sprint a lesson about trying to pull one over on a Ghahremani, determined touseeveryoneofthose-3000night-and-weekendminutesgoddamnit!, it's "Krsshshshshshst". Snow. Static. Nothing. Hichi.

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 cell phone company.

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 the 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 Body 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

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By Lilly Ghahremani



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