Barbara Hill

Barbara Lynch Hill

I truly have a pretty calm demeanor. Much of the time. A glaring exception is dealing with cell phones, especially those ringing throughout my immediate blood line. These convenient but maddening gadgets regularly cause lapses into my late mother’s favorite – and in this case, highly appropriate – cuss: “hells bells!”

Many people complain, quite correctly, that cell phones are used to excess. I know that at least half the people I see driving cars are also cell phoning. Bad idea.

Many grocery shoppers have one to their ear in every aisle. Better idea. I actually watched two people lately in a salon as the nail tech snipped, cut, filed, buffed, polished and sprayed a full set of nails while talking on her cell. At the same time her client was carrying on an entirely different conversation on hers.

I saw a gal jogging along Trolley Road talking on her cell. All mind boggling incidents to me. I fully expect newborns to enter this world with a cell phone affixed to one ear by the next millennium.

My late husband (bless his conservative soul) had a cell which he (a) often forgot to take with him, or (b) didn’t turn on.

“What’s the use of having one if I can’t get you?” I pleaded a million times. My relatives have cells, including all the grandchildren.

I remember that one day when we had all first gotten cell phones and visiting kin were here from Texas, we found ourselves going in three directions: fishing, golfing and lunching plus shopping.

The female trio chose Door No. 3. After the male contingent left, I realized not one of them had taken a house key.

“No problem,” I told my sister-in-law Jeannette, “We’ll call Mike (brother) on his cell and tell him where to find one.”

“He doesn’t have his cell with him,” she informed me. “I carry the family cell when we travel together.”

“No problem,” I repeated, “We’ll call Jon, (brother-in-law), on his.”

“He left his at home,” my sister Cynthia said.

“No problem,” I repeated for the third time, enunciating my words much too precisely, “I’ll call David” (son). “He does lots of business on his cell, so I’ll get him right away.” What I got was an invitation to leave a message.

We spent what seemed like forever figuring out a series of notes to paste onto different doors directing our men folk to key locations. The moment we had completed the complicated arrangements, my land line rang, with my son on the other end.

“Hells bells, David,” I greeted him warmly; “We just finished spending ages going around our elbows to get to our hind quarters! You’ve been holding up the shopping trip. Why didn’t you call sooner?”

“Mom,” he explained patiently, “I left mine in the office and drove to Columbia.”

Then I heard the melodious sounds of Pachelbel’s “Canon.” That music always brings me a measure of calm. It was my sister’s cell phone tone, and it sounded like heaven’s chimes.

It also sounded like the perfect theme to waft me into today’s verbal fray.

Barbara Hill is a local historian and former reporter for the Summerville Journal Scene.