From the miscellaneous drawer - Rushing to get things done

by Anne Swenson

On the weekends I make up an imaginary set of “to do” lists for the days. Sometimes I write it all down, but sometimes it is short enough that I think I can handle it without a paper reminder.
And so it was last Saturday. A friend was coming over for lunch, so I planned my morning: Start the laundry, stop at the office for the mail, stop to see my friend Betty, pick up a couple things at the grocery store, buy some wine, set the table, straighten up the cascade of newspapers in the living room and get the cooking started.
My garage is also my laundry room, so I dressed, grabbed the laundry basket - briefly self-checking that I had emptied all the Kleenex out of the pockets of the grey jacket to be washed. Yes, I remembered doing that...
Got the machine load started after again questioning why the elderly aren’t considered when opening a child-proof soap container that requires the strength of a teenager or more.
Backed out my car carefully so as not to again break the driver’s side mirror, newly replaced. (My garage, like so many others in Ely has very little leeway on either side while backing out or driving in.)
Turned my car lights on, closed the garage door and headed down the road.
About a half mile away from home I reached for my cell phone.
It wasn’t in the pocket of my blue jacket. Yikes!
Turning around carefully on the two-lane road, I headed back home, hoping beyond hope that I had left the flip phone near my computer or bedside.
Nope. I turned the washing machine dial to spin and it emptied the soapy water. Sure enough, there at the bottom of still soaking wet clothes was the cell phone.
Now the “cure” for wet cell phones is to open it up, spray the parts with canned air, and submerge the parts under rice for at least a day.
Or email your family and have your granddaughter Megan pick up a new phone by Monday.
The lunch that day went fine, but there’s a certain feeling of vulnerability, being alone without any phone for two days.
I’ve had a cell phone for about 20 years, young Jake told me it would keep me safe. I doubt if he thought I would ever “wash” it.
* * *
In the Ely Echo for October 31, 1988, 30 years ago, the headlines were:
• Husband-wife team campaign for Winton;
• Emily Wahlberg cited as excellent teacher;
• Ely about to apply sludge to forest land;
• Zap seeks voter support as presidential candidate;
1988 Big Buck Contest got underway.