Two days ago I was at a party when Lucy called to ask if she could have a friend sleep over. There was general amusement from the guests when I snapped shut my phone. A flip phone! So old-fashioned! To me, of course, a $19 flip phone had been a step up from the $9.99 straight phone I’d used for a couple of years and constantly found myself dialing by sitting on the buttons.
As friends brought out their sleek smart phones to show me, I explained that for me, cheapness was key. I don’t use a phone much and it has a hard life. I’ve dropped my phone in snow banks and in water troughs, and lost them in the rain.
Yesterday I spent six hours brush-hogging in the back acres. Though my upper body is hardening to the exercise, I was moving in a weary stupor by 4:30 PM when I finally cut the engine. I stopped for a cold drink of water, filled the water tank, and drove down tiredly to Betty’s pasture to move the sheep. I’d come back later to milk and do chores.
The sheep are far down the field now, where the grass is tall and rank. I hiked up the long hill to get the lawnmower to mow paths for fencing. I was blearily stretching a measuring tape and marking the field with flags when Lucy called again. Could she use my loppers — clearly marked FOR BUTCHERING ONLY — to build a fort in the woods? No. I shoved my phone back in the pocket of my jeans.
Five minutes later I was roaring through the foot-high grass on the mower when I saw something explode in sparkling shards. Hmmm, I thought absently. Litter! I kept mowing. When I returned on another pass I paused the machine to pick up the trash like a good tree-hugger. Gosh, it looks like some poor person has lost his ce—
Oh dear. I put my hand to my jeans’ pocket. Empty.