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Southern Oregon Journal - My cell phone left me - with a huge bill

My cell phone left me on Valentine's Day.

I don't know if it broke up with me, or I broke up with it. All I know is I got a $250 cell bill on Saturday that broke my heart.

I discovered my silver cell had gone missing on the day traditionally celebrated by lovers. Considering our complicated relationship, the romantic date heaped irony onto an already perplexing situation. I don't like to be tethered to 24/7 contact - with anyone. And I don't like getting the stinky eyeball for perceived eavesdropping when people blather private conversations in public spaces. I was recently disturbed by muttered sarcasm while musing the merits of Braeburn over Granny Smith apples. I looked questioningly at the woman. Maybe she knew something about the produce I didn't. But she turned away from my inquiring look with a huffy hiss. Then I saw the earpiece.

"Sorry, I thought you were talking to me, Ms. Bluetooth."

My car and I have survived several near-misses from glassy-eyed, lip-flapping cell-phone users of all ages, makes and models. Thus, I am a serious supporter of the "Shut-up and Drive" club.

On the other hand, I love the fact that my cell phone can be a literal lifeline in certain circumstances. It also allows me to inform my editor to hold the presses when a dull-as- dishwater public meeting suddenly gets dicey for public officials. And ordering a pizza that will arrive just as you hit your driveway is pretty cool, too.

When I discovered my cell was missing, I went looking for it. It had tried to leave before. Many times my little cellular hockey puck would shoot out of my purse and go spinning across parking lots or hide under chairs in city council chambers. Maybe it was trying to tell me this wasn't a love match all along.

After searching the usual hiding places to no avail, I decided I'd better do something. I called the store where I'd purchased my phone. The department manager assured me, as I was such a loyal customer, he'd personally call my service provider and put the nix on my number. "Just call if you find it, or come in when you're ready to buy a new phone," he said.

Something must have gone awry between the promise and the practice. Opening my bill Saturday, it was immediately obvious my cell was in a new relationship - with someone younger.

There were numerous pages of text messages and dozens of ring-tone downloads, many featuring dulcet tones of body gasses. Clearly a good time was being had by all.

I called my provider and explained the situation. They promised to block service to my cell and remove any charges incurred during this illicit hook-up.

I shouldn't be surprised my cell moved on. For days it would sit, turned off, till its little batteries flickered and died. But my phone never worked at home - or anywhere north of Gold Hill, for that matter. I couldn't even get it to give me a decent ring tone of the non-flatulent variety.

So it stings that my slacker cell clearly stepped up its performance in this new relationship. But, as a friend once sighed after her commitment-phobic beau eagerly embraced marriage shortly after they split, "All we do is polish them up for the next one, anyway."

Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 776-4497 or e-mail sspecht@mailtribune.com.