Saturday, January 5, 2013

LUCINDA THE LAPTOP, PART II: (“When Did I Get So Feeble, My Teenage Daughter Had to Become My Caretaker?”)

Photos: Greg Weinerr and Jackie Roman, Sept. 2007 Playgirl Magazine

--Retrospective Breaking News--

Flash – the very same week I recovered Lucinda The Laptop A-Leaping, my son Nick of Bang Camaro but more recently of Canada! experienced a similarly-tragic technology loss.

His Pink Motorola Razor Phone apparently leaped from a hole in his jeans pocket while he was being transported throughout the winding Boston Metropolis inside one of its more reliable forms of public transportation.

Or maybe it was a cab. That part doesn’t matter.

What does matter is that he lost his phone two days before his then-world-touring David Letterman-Appearing Jimmy Kimmel-Approved 24-Man Band Bang Camaro was scheduled to open for Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler at the Boston Music Awards. 

Clearly, Nick needed his cellular device.

Living sooooo close to global-fame was one of the most exciting times of my life. 

I even got to witness the actual call Nick made to Cambridge Police.  To report his missing phone.

Although the ONLY reason I eavesdropped on Nick’s landline-call to Cambridge Police was because he was at my house standing right in front of me, after he'd surveyed vast oaken bureaus I’d offered since he was moving to a larger apartment.  Rock stars NEED this kind of open space -- (the kind you find inside vacant bureau-drawers).

 “Yes sir, Friday evening. That's right, in Cambridge. At about midnight. Uh-huh.  It was a Razor. By Motorola, yes.  In pink.  Pink, that’s right. A dude-gag, that whole I’m In Touch With My Feminine Side Thing Okay you GOT the pink part.  Excuse me? Uh, it was a Razor.  Right.  Motorola. . .”

This went on for twenty minutes.

When he hung up I excitedly offered him my cell phone as back-up in case the temp-phone Verizon was sending arrived late, as he was wildly important in his work and music careers. 

Then I stole my daughter’s cell phone from her purse in the event that Nick or Steven Tyler needed to call me for something.

Two days later, following the stunningly-successful BMA weekend event with Nick Given and Steven Tyler, I return to my house after a long workday teaching eleven-year olds and a triple-promoted eight-year-old how Oedipus murdered his father and married his mother.

Me:  “Phew!  I’m home, Abby!!  What a day. Oh, hey, wow. The house smells funny.  Like – sniff sniff – a dude dormitory.”

Abby: --online—looks up at me in horror – “Uh, this is our HOME. It smells fine…” rolls her eyes. Continues typing.

 “Oh, look, Abby. Nick didn’t borrow my cell phone.  It’s still there in its charger.”

  -- not looking up anymore – clatter-clatter –“Yeah, he found his lost Razor.”

 “Really?  Like, the same way I got my laptop back??  Cool!  When was this? Where’d he find it?”

clickety-clack clack -- “Today and I don’t know” – clack clack—

 So I call Nick on his Recovered Pink Razor.  (By Motorola.)  It still had its Out-of-Service Prompt from Verizon.

“Abby, are you sure he has HIS cell and not the one Verizon sent as a replacement?”

sigh – clack – “YES.  Nick has HIS phone,” clack clack

“But how do you know it’s HIS?”

“He TOLD ME …” cluck, sigh, clack


Abby stops typing, turns slowly, and regards me as though I were the sort of idiot who’d leave a laptop on their car-roof and just drive off …

She carefully enunciates, “T O D A Y.”

“WHEN today? He WORKS.”

Using the same tone she once used on Alzheimer's patients during Exploratory Voc Week at BV Tech, she said, "Do you remember that he is MOVING to his new apartment this week and you offered him a couple of huge bureaus?  And that he said he was TAKING TODAY OFF for this? To move them?  TO his new apartment?”

“Oh gosh, you’re right. It’s MONDAY.”

 “It IS Monday.”  She returns to the keyboard, relieved.

“So did you SEE him?”

“Oh my GAWD, Mom, how else did he TELL me he got his CELL PHONE BACK?”

“So THAT’S why the house smells like a dormitory.  Did he have his friends over to help him move the furniture?”

“Yes.  Don’t ask who or how many I don’t remember”  clack clack, click

Just when did I get so incorrigibly stupid?

And how come SHE didn’t put together that I was smelling her brother and his friends after transporting oversized oaken furniture from my house down many flights of stairs, outside, to the Band-Van?


Who’s stupid now?

I inelegantly note to her that I need to log onto the family computer to check my email. Which is when Abigail helpfully reminds me that I can just go use my wiggly-hinged car-roof-injured laptop that I had learned to tear out of its Duct Taped Nest back at work.

“But I’m afraid I’ll hurt it, Abby.  I only trust you with my school’s technology.”

She sighs, huffs, logs out, and retrieves Broken Lucinda from her new and heavily-padded transporting case.

Then -- uh oh.

Abby has unfastened Lucinda from the case's sturdy harness-system and hoisted her gently to a nearby desk, so as to devote all of her energy to standing there, hands on hips, to glower.  At me.

She is SO frustrated she cannot speak.

I look around, horrified.  “Abby, what?”

“Mom!  The cord!?  It’s not IN your padded case with the laptop. And ever since those ‘alleged falls’ it took, you killed the Hibernate Button. And you never shut it OFF.”

I wait for the rest of her sentence.

Her eyes roll.

“Mama, this means YOU HAVE NO  B A T T E R Y.  Can you remember, please, next time, to shut your computer down when you are done using it?”

“Yes, I can, Abby.”

“And can I have my cell phone back now, please?”

I cannot instantly recall where I have left her cell phone.  No one had called me on it.  

My eyes dart around nervously.

“TELL me you KNOW where my CELL PHONE is.”

“Honey, it’s not lost it’s … I know.  I put it…let’s look here in my purse.”

She grabs the purse off the kitchen table and roots through it, at first awestruck then visibly disgusted that the five BEST hairbrushes in the house are located, right there, in the void.

“Do you SEE my hair, Mom?  THIS is the reason I looked like this today.  I think I’ll just take FOUR of these back now. You only need one.”

“Thank you, Abby.”

“Oh, look. No WONDER we have to use spoons to eat steak.  Can you please explain why you have seven forks in your purse?”

“Um, like…if I keep my fork with my lunch, the tines pierce my lunch bag then the salad dressing leaks, so I separate the cutlery from the lettuce by keeping silverware in my purse.”

“You need a new system.  Here, you can place your fork ON your salad, if you leave room. Like this. Then seal the dressing up really well.  Line up the yellow line with the blue, until the Zip-Top is GREEN. Maybe you should use two bags. Oh look!  Here’s my cell phone next to a tampon that’s coming out of its wrapper. I think I’ll just throw this away for you. You have a whole new box in the bathroom.”

“Thank you, Abby.”
That was the year I renewed my special education license. 

My daughter’s early experiences back in elementary school clearly provided her more strategies for success than she needed.

I needed at least one life skill, myself.

If only Abby and I had enjoyed this daughter-mother moment days earlier, I’d have never lost Lucinda in the first place.

(And if he'd played his cards right and hung around that Monday, we might have shared some strategies with Nick.)

Oh, who am I kidding?  If I had ANY success using strategies and life skills, I wouldn’t be enjoying so much unemployment and technological-BLOGGGGGING success featuring made-up emoticons and cell phone photography.  

      ~~~>{               <--- this is Alfred Hitchcock blowing a party horn