Roundaboutation around roundabouts and rumps

Posted on May 11, 2007


A couple of weeks ago I left my cell phone in a taxi. I didn’t realize I had done so, since I frequently leave it at home and so I assumed when I called it and it rang repeatedly that I had left it under my pillow (my usual reaction to a ringing cell phone alarm is to stick it under a pillow). Later on that evening, M informed me that a man had answered when he called me, from which I deduced that I had left it in a taxi. I called it and agreed with the taxi driver that he would come by my place at 9 am and drop it off. Naturally, having gone this far into uncharted waters of honesty, I assumed that the dude would in fact come by. In fact, when I called him at 9 am, he said he was 15 minutes away. That was the last I heard of him. I waited downstairs, and called 85 times, from home and work, and after a while, the cell phone was turned off. I assumed that the guy had given in to his inner devil and decided it was easier to sell it than give it to me. This theory was supported by my dad. He said that probably someone “wicked” led the taxi driver astray. Yes, he said wicked. My parents are weird on msn (the other day my mother was on to me about paying tithes…and not just that, she actually thinks it’s part of my professional duties to do so. I don’t think I made my profession quite clear to her).

I digressed heavily there. The phone: so, other people opined that maybe the driver got distracted or got a fare and that’s why he shut off the phone, while others said that he probably would have brought it back because it’s easier to make bonus money than to look around for a buyer for stolen goods – had I given him a chance. I did not, and discarded all these theories and prompted had my line cut off. This actually took a considerable amount of time, as apparently you can’t call to cut off a line except if you call FROM the line first, alerting them that you suspect that your cellphone will be stolen or lost soon, apparently. Upon having cut off my line, I recalled that it was in my father’s name, and so I could not obtain a new SIM card myself. My dad likes to get things in his name even if he knows other people are going to use them later. This has gotten me into much bedan with banks and cell phone companies in the past – I feel like I need to carry around a properly notarized power of attorney. This being Egypt, I tried to negotiate for an arrangement including faxed authorizations and the like, but this proved unacceptable. Luckily, my dad remedied his fault by contacting a relative who works for the Unnamed Cell Phone Company and he had the hookup, and managed to get me issued a new SIM card with my old number, despite my utter lack of identification, and not particularly being a middle-aged moustachioed engineer.

So I took it home and popped the new SIM into the reserve cell phone, the one my dad uses when he’s here. This is it:

It is a bag of shite. I have tried every ring tone, and the least offensive one causes eyes to close in pain all over Cairo when it rings. The alarm clock has no snooze, which means I have been late for work ever since I lost my phone. You can’t set the alarm to ring only during weekdays, like you could with my old one. You can’t send messages to more than one sender, and sent messages are not kept. There are like five steps to get to your phone book. There’s no camera. When you click on missed calls, it doesn’t tell you when they called. And the list of drawbacks goes on and on…I miss my old phone. Especially since I now have none of my friends’ numbers, and also because I had amassed a carefully edited collection of text messages with sentimental value which are unlikely to be reproduced. But worst of all, the sound on the new cell phone is bullshit. I have no idea what anyone is saying, and they can’t hear me either. People with lisps have been forced to text me. Not only has the poor sound led to much confusion at work, but phone calls with – say – the Mouse have been reduced to utterly one-sided affairs because he’s a mumbler. In the past I had relied on 50% guesswork to deduce what he was saying on the phone, while in person lip-reading was essential. I often wondered whether, in fact, I thought he was a completely different dude that I had put together from lip-reading and guessing.

As an example of the phone’s perfidy, yesterday a guy called and muttered something at me which sounded suspiciously like he was asking me out. “HEY, ARE YOU ASKING ME OUT?” I shouted, probably causing him grave embarassment. “YES, I AM,” he shouted valiantly.




So we went out. As I pointed out to him, it’s a real bummer dating dudes who read my blog; but the blog does allow interested persons to ascertain beforehand whether they meet the checklist, which my date was happy to report that he did (full head of hair, taller than I, Christian, read a book). It takes down the ridicule potential significantly, though. But I will recount the following: to my utter disbelief, I actually experienced a bona fide chick flick moment. Yes, when I went to the bathroom, my skirt got stuck in my underpants, and I walked out with my posterior hanging out in plain sight. I noticed a draft up my fun bits at the door when we got up to leave – i.e. I didn’t notice anything the whole evening – and hastily untucked my skirt from my underwear, but not before everyone in the restaurant had gotten a good gander at what, thankfully, were non-embarrassing undergarments. My date was disappointed he hadn’t caught a look too.

In addition to his checklist compliance, my good fortune in him was further demonstrated by him losing his goddamn mind and agreeing to let me drive his beloved jeep. That is a quadruple whammy: he let 1) ME DRIVE 2)HIS 3)BELOVED 4)JEEP. In the natural course of things these words should not be within sniffing distance of each other. Well, that’s gotta be love.