Lori Borgman: You make the call: Take the phone or leave it

I left home without my phone the other day. I considered turning back but decided against it.

As I continued on my way, I felt a growing sense of euphoria. It was as though a weight had been lifted — a small electronic weight that would fit in a pocket, a purse or rattle around in a cup holder in a car. It was freeing. For a short distance anyway.

Then came a moment of doubt. What if I needed my phone? What if I was in a fender bender, or worse?

Surely, I could run a few errands untethered. I’ve lived two-thirds of my life without a cell phone.

In my 20s, I criss-crossed the country without a cell phone. Everyone did. And yes, it was after the covered wagon. If you needed directions, you stopped at a gas station. A guy pumping gas with a grease rag in his back pocket could get you where you needed to go.

Gas stations were where you stopped for amenities like bathrooms. ‘Round back. They were often filthy bathrooms that you had to ask for a key to use. It was survival of the fittest. And, looking back, we may have been more fit.

My dad made sure that I knew how to change a tire. He had me practice in the driveway. Today, I could no more change a tire than I could leap the Empire State Building or throw a rock across the Potomac. But I do have our insurance company’s roadside assistance number — in my cell phone. Which is back home.

I decided to forget about the phone and walk on the wild side. The new me — fearless nonconformist.

It was invigorating. I felt as though I was 16 again, armed with a new driver’s license and about to drive on the interstate for the first time. Alone. Windows down, hair whipping in the wind and “Wild Thing” blaring on the radio.

I ran my errands with a lighter step. I glided in and out of the UPS store, sashayed through the grocery, and floated up and down aisles of a big box store.

Then I stopped at our youngest daughter’s house to return some things. “Where have you been?” she snapped, hands on hips.

“Running errands.”

“Well, you need to call my sister, because she’s called me twice, frantic because she’s been trying to call you forever and you don’t answer, and she’s tried calling Dad and he doesn’t answer and she’s wondering if something happened to both of you because neither of you answers!”

All that in a single breath. She’s good.

If I walked on all fours and had a tail, I would have tucked it between my legs.

I said I would call her sister and explained that their dad was working outside.

The bubble of freedom burst before my eyes, not to mention the eyes of three little granddaughters alongside their mother looking at me like I was incorrigible.

Once again, I felt like I was 16 — and about to be grounded.

Lori Borgman is a columnist, author and speaker. Reach her at [email protected].