Where, Oh Where, Has My Precious Cell Phone Gone?

Where, Oh Where, Has My Precious Cell Phone Gone?

Having moved here from the East not long ago, new friends have been hard to find without kids or dogs. But patience will always be a virtue, and last year I met a guy my age at a friend’s wedding in Sausalito and found a real true friend for life. We meet every month for lunch and go three hours easily, never at a loss for conversation and tons of laughs.

This week we met and got into that groove we’ve found where we wonder where the time flew. Then we had to switch gears — we both have spouses requiring attention and compliance with the “honey do” list that is at the heart and soul of every marriage. So, we scrambled to collect our “stuff,” pay the bill, get into our parkas and return to real life with ear-to-ear smiles.

Crossing the San Pablo Bridge, I reached for my phone but found that impossible. It was nowhere in the car. I assured myself that it was somewhere in the traveling mess I call my car. Plus, I could go back, in the worst case, and get it where I’d left it.

But my stomach had started feeling like an erupting volcano and I was afraid I would throw up. I remembered the raw oysters and knew the cause, which didn’t help at all. My wife wasn’t home, so I had no phone to call the restaurant and was in such intestinal agony that I just jumped into bed, missing one of the few Warriors’ road wins this year. I remembered the raw oysters I had foolishly ordered and knew the cause at once.

The next day, feeling better, I called the restaurant, which didn’t open until noon. Since they took no reservations, you had to leave a message and wait for a return call that never came. So, I hit the road back whence I had come, feeling relief at my returning to health and a bright sunny day.

That lasted until I was back on the bridge, when my mood suddenly shifted from optimism to realism that included the possibility that the phone might not be there. The rest of the trip was a debate between happy ending and total disaster scenarios. With each mile, the possible disaster loomed larger as I considered that the rest of my life would be consumed with replacing my phone, all its numbers, family photos and other information — the amount was monumental and not even clear as to how many items it might cover.

The joint was jumping — Saturday in Tiburon with two NFL games meant you had to elbow your way through the bar to get to the restaurant and wait forever to ask about the phone. In 15 minutes, a manager showed up and heard me out. Yes, we have one phone from the previous day and would go get it from the office where lost items were kept.

“It’s a blue one, right?” he said, and my heart stopped, starting again just enough for me to say, “No, it’s black, but go get it anyway.” He hustled off for another 15 minutes as I continued the optimist versus pessimist/realist debate, which was now obliterating all the rest of reality, leaving only emptiness, hopelessness and endless struggle as my future lot in life. Seeing my phone gleaming in his hand I came back to life.

My very own, precious, special, irreplaceable teddy bear equivalent sparked a joy that was beyond measure. I grabbed it, thanked him, got back to my car as quickly as I could and did deep-breathing for a good five minutes. That allowed me to explode with a huge laugh at the idea that my agony had been prolonged, at the very moment of release and redemption, because the Gods, if there are any, have very deep senses of humor, and had made sure that my deliverance was provided by the only blue-black color-blind restaurant manager in the entire United States, if not the world. Now I could breathe. I pulled out the phone to call Joe and then my wife with the wonderful, cosmically important news.

Mike Parish lives in Alameda.