But Everyone Has One

A tree’s simple demands: sun, water, and soil. Divine.

Miles run today: 4.5

Interviews I am ahead by for next week’s deadline: 2 (yippee!)

Hours per week my son watches CNET: 10 (best guess)

Yesterday, my almost-12-year-old son handed me a spreadsheet.

There were lots of numbers. In rows. And columns.

Him: See, Mom?! We can afford a cell phone!

Me: Since when is $2,400 per year affordable?

Him: I thought you said you were getting a job.

Me: Not as Leader of the Free World.

Him: But look! There’s one that’s only $5 per month!

Me: What’s the catch? Is it cardboard?

Him: Everyone has a cell phone. [long sigh]

Me: You don’t.

Him: [another long sigh] I know.

I always wanted lots of things, even the dump trucks that boys on commercials drove through big piles of dirt. Here is a sampling of what I didn’t get:

A canopied bed.

A Barbie. (until I was 10, and then my mom got one for my sister, and she felt like she had to get me one, but by then, I was almost too old for them, so it was a Pyrrhic victory.)

A Big Wheel.

Penny loafers.

Cable TV.

A microwave.

When I brought out the “But everyone has one!” argument, my parents were unmoved.

I mean: stony faces, lack of sympathy, comments about how some kids didn’t even own shoes or have food to eat.

I didn’t have spreadsheets at my disposal. For all I know, they hadn’t been invented yet.

So I worked the Charm angle.

The problem: I wasn’t particularly charming.

When I was my son’s age, I really, really, really wanted a phone in my bedroom. I wanted a cream-colored one that looked old-fashioned: a princess phone.

At the time, all phones were very much attached to the wall, or the unit itself… you could walk around the corner in our kitchen, but the cord only extended so far. You could sit on my parent’s bed and talk, but the cord only stretched to the door of their bathroom.

Seriously: everyone had a phone in her room. Everyone.

I’m not sure what I needed to talk about in my room that was private. Most likely, the hot lifeguard who twirled his whistle lackadaisically in the summer sun. I do remember a long argument my good friend and I got into about why she was annoying because she was a Virgo and why I was so bossy as a Leo.

I think that may have been the moment my mom decided a phone in my room was not such a bad idea.

She dashed upstairs and plugged that cord right into the wall and slapped an old, plastic blue phone on my bedside table.

I was thrilled. I called everyone. Everyone.

And it didn’t cost $2,400.