At eighty-five years of age, Miss Lydia decided to get “one of those new-fangled phones” everyone seemed to be peering at with heads bent. Several of the ladies in her church group had them, and they talked incessantly about “time facing” and “gaggling it.” Whatever that meant, it sounded like a bunch of nonsense, but her nephew, Clyde, wanted her to have one for safety reasons. A bunch of bull-pucky!
The nice young man at the phone store tried to explain the features available on the phone, including why the only user manual was “on the line” and not printed out like normal. Frustrated, Miss Lydia returned home with her new gadget. She set it on the table beside her and watched it like someone would keep an eye on a rattler.
Clarice Travers stopped by after getting off work at the library. She oohed and aahed over what she called a cell phone, offering to help Miss Lydia set up some ring tones.
“It would be nice if a phone rang like a real phone.” The octogenarian didn’t cotton to changing anything what wasn’t broken.
“I can set that up, and I’ll do a couple of other alerts for texts, emails, and Facebook. You are on Facebook, aren’t you?” Clarice glanced up with raised eyebrows, smiling when Miss Lydia made a dismissive wave with her hand. “I’ll help you set it up another day if you’d like?”
Miss Lydia didn’t respond. Her head had settled back against her recliner, and her eyes were closed. She’d fallen asleep. Clarice finished setting up the alerts and laid the cell phone on the end table by Miss Lydia’s chair before letting herself out the door.
“Be-doh, be-doh, be-doh!” Miss Lydia sat up abruptly. What in the world was that? She listened intently for a repeat of the sound which woke her but didn’t hear it any longer, and she decided it must have been some whippersnapper outside making noise again. Those teenagers were always driving by with their radios blaring day and night.
Getting up out of her chair took a bit of doing due to her stiff joints and rheumatism, she hobbled into the bathroom. As she washed her hands, she heard that same “Be-doh” noise. She stormed out of the bathroom as quickly as a woman in advanced years could manage. Once more the sound had disappeared.
“Those juvenile delinquents made a loop around the block. Umph! Don’t they realize some people take a little rest in the afternoon?” Miss Lydia knew she needed to…What was it Clyde would say? Oh, yes. ‘Cool my jets.’
She approached the recliner looking out the window for the troublemakers. The sound of a bugle and the rattling of her new phone on the side table had her putting her hand over her heart in shock. She prodded it with her finger, but it remained silent.
She did remember how to do one thing with her new phone. Her finger pressed downward on a button at the side of her purchase. Miss Lydia had an inkling on how to turn it off.
Written for the Weekend Write-In Challenge on May 14, 2017.
In the past, I’ve written about the increase in homeless veterans in the aftermath of more than a decade of war in the Middle East. The challenges our returning veterans face is overwhelming. Many return carrying the physical and psychological wounds of a brutal war which has affected a generation of our young people. […]