I dialed a phone number yesterday that I’ve had memorized all my life … literally. It’s the phone number I grew up with. It was the first phone number I learned. I dialed it from my work phone, and it rang and rang and never got answered by the answering machine. Odd, I though to myself. Next, I tried my cell phone. Almost immediately I got the “You have reached a phone number that has been disconnected or is no longer in service” message. That got my attention.
Next I tried my mother’s cell phone. Twice. It went to voice-mail, twice. I didn’t leave a message, mostly because in the several years she’s had this cell phone she has never setup her voice-mail.
I tried the original phone number again, from both phones. Same thing … no answer or disconnected message.
My brain just couldn’t wrap itself around the fact that the phone number I associated with “Home” had faded away.
I reached out to my aunt, but got her answering machine. I left her a message asking her all the obvious questions.
I did some Google searches to find out who the phone carrier was for my mom’s residential area. I called them. Amazingly, I spoke to a human, obviously a resident of the midwest (instead of tropical Asia) and asked if she could check the record for the phone number I’d been trying to call. I explained I was her daughter and that I just needed to know if it had been disconnected. She couldn’t give me specifics, obviously, because I’m not authorized to know that information (no Durable Power of Attorney), but she told me their records indicated that the phone line should be working fine. I asked her if she could call the number to check it for me. She could not. She asked me if she could make a note of my calling them in the account. I said that was fine and gave her my name. She didn’t take my cell phone number, even though I offered it.
I called my aunt back and left her a message telling her to ignore my first voice-mail. I called my husband and told him I might be making a trip out to my mom’s house this evening to check on things. I went back to work and put it in the back of my mind until I could deal with it later that evening.
I picked up my vanpool riders in downtown Kansas City and began weaving my way through traffic to enter the highway. As I was approaching the entrance ramp, my cell phone rang. Normally, I would have ignored it and let it go to voice-mail because I should not be talking on my phone while driving. But because I was worried about my mom, I answered it. Good thing because it was her calling me from her cell phone. She confirmed that she’d cancelled the landline the week before and was relying solely on her cell phone. We didn’t talk long, because I was driving, but I was relieved to learn she was alive and well.
I’ve been struggling with the concept of not being able to phone home ever again all night long. Rationally, I knew that number would eventually fade away, I just never expected it to be so soon. It just feels like another nail in the lid of the coffin that is my approaching 50th birthday.