Monday, October 02, 2006

Life's mistakes

Mills of the gods

It probably will not shock anyone who reads this missive that I know nothing about the use of my cell phone. I can answer it when it rings, which is seldom because I don't ever turn it on. I can make a call with it, most of the time, but that is the sum total of my knowledge. I know it can text message and has voice mail and some kind of an address book in it and I think some games and God knows what else. None of these do I know how to use.

This morning, for some reason, I had my phone in my front pocket when I sat behind the wheel to start my car. Something bumped into a spot on the phone and I heard an electronic type noice I had never heard before. Then from my pocket I heard a voice say "you have four voice mails". At that point I pulled my phone out of my pocket and began to listen. All of the voice mails were close to a week old, or older. all were things that I knew about and thus must have found out about after the voicemail was sent. This affirmed my practice of not trying to learn about the voice mail capabilities, every voicemail sender finds you eventually. But one of the voice males was a woman's voice I had never heard before.

The unknown woman, who did not identify herself, was leaving a message for someone, apologizing profusely for something she had said earlier that day. I think that the voice was trying to contact her sister because much of the message had to do with problems with "mom". I felt bad that the message had been sent to the wrong person. I began to feel like my lack of cell phone skills could lead to an unfortunate breach between two siblings widening. "You never said you were sorry. ", "Yes I did, I left you a very long voice mail.", "well I never got it", "well I left it." You got the picture. The fact that this was probably over an elderly mother who was being stubborn and driving them both crazy, makes me feel that much worse.

But a lot of life is like that. You do the right thing, but leave the message on the wrong phone. a phone belonging to a moron who does not know how to check his messages and so through the incompetence of the message leaver and the phone owner, a sister never gets word about an apology and so assumes that she has to shoulder the "mom" situation herself. She does a bad job with it and mom never speaks to her again, leaving the other sister the only person mom will call for help and mom proceeds to call her, hourly, for the rest of mom's unexepectedly long life. The burdened sister becomes too much for her husband (who by the way also said he was sorry on the message I got) who then leaves her after 23 years of marriage, forcing her to return to the work force as, ironically, a cell phone salesman for the new AT&T where she sells cell phones by the sea shore shore to middle aged men who only barely ever really underestood how to use the rotary phone which they grew up with. Thus the mistakes perpetuate themselves. Like Gatsby's waves, beating against the rocks, the human race continues in pathetic fits of stops and starts.

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