standing Rona Mann

Rona Mann

I was never one of “those” people.

I never wanted to be one of “those” people.

I was perfectly happy with my flip phone except I couldn’t check or send email (yes, I know you can now), and that is paramount for me. I am on the road constantly, and it got pretty dreary running into hotel lobbies to check my mail on their computers. But I resisted long and hard until my much-missed friend, Chris DiPaola, dragged me kicking and screaming to Patrick Lynch’s Wireless Zone, and within minutes, I was shot from a cannon into the modern world. But I vowed I would not become one of “them.”

Unless it’s brutally hot or extremely cold, I always leave my phone in the car. I don’t believe in bringing it to a meeting, a meal, or a visit with a friend or client. I think it’s rude, and unless you’re an obstetrician or brain surgeon or have a pending familial situation, you just don’t need to do it. The earth will continue to spin on its axis if you’re not checking messages every minute. I want that meeting, that friend, or that client to feel they have my undivided attention and they’re the most important person in my world, not overridden by a hunk of metal. When the folks at local theaters give their “curtain speech” advising everyone to turn off their cell phones, I barely listen, knowing my phone is out in the car, and I can easily exist for a couple of hours without breaking out in a cold sweat. Then came Christmas 2022.

Among other things I did that day included one of my favorite pleasures, going to the casino to walk. Not much of a gambler, I have always enjoyed putting in my miles walking around the fourth-largest casino in the country, some 344,000 square feet. It’s great exercise, even better people-watching, and on a holiday it’s not crowded at all. So after acquiring a prime space in the garage and walking at a rapid pace for about an hour, I sought out one of the few open restaurants to reward myself with some bubbly. Sitting at the empty bar, I chatted for a few minutes with the only other woman there, then pulled out my phone and checked my email. After leaving a holiday message for my oldest friend, I finished my wine and departed, ambling another ¾ of a mile or so back to the garage. It wasn’t until I was backing into my driveway that I realized I did not have my phone: not in the zippered pocket of my jacket, not in my bag, and not in the cup holder. I had done the unthinkable and “lost” my phone! But I didn’t panic because I knew a simple phone call would assure me it was safely in the confines of the restaurant or lost and found. Still, I was horrified at myself. In the two-plus years I’ve had the phone I never “lost” or even dropped it. I’ve been very diligent in protecting my investment.

I called the casino’s lost and found, but found they have bankers’ hours, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and now it was about 5, so I went online where I read a cheerful message from a company that apparently handles such things for casinos, “over a billion items are lost each year,” and they would do their “best” to retrieve it after I filled out a multi-page form. Not reassuring.

I didn’t sleep well that night wondering if I’d ever see it again, then convincing myself I would. I also knew I could get along just fine without suffering iPhone withdrawal, and being able to check email on my desktop made me even calmer. But the casino wasn’t calling, the company with “over a billion” lost items wasn’t calling, so it was time to get proactive. I drove back to the casino, retraced my steps (an unexpected additional workout), and when I got to the restaurant the barmaid cheerfully produced it. I was surprised at my heightened sense of euphoria as though my amputated right arm had somehow now been reattached.

“I am not one of ‘those’ people,” I kept muttering as I drove home. “I am not.” I just got lucky like everyone hopes to do when they visit a casino.

I am NOT one of “those” people. Really.

Rona Mann has been a freelance writer for The Sun for 21 years, including her “In Their Shoes” features. She can be reached at six07co@att.net or 401-539-7762.

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