In the old days before the microchip, we would be out of touch with one another all the time. Now we expect to be able to speak to friends and family on our cell phones at any time day or night. Have we become too dependent on these admittedly useful devices. Several years ago my charlady told me. "This little thing is your friend. Keep it close to you always" That was good advice and so I now never buy any item of clothing (except for panties and bras of course) that doesn't have a pocket that can hold my Samsung.and I carry it everywhere I go. But lately my "friend " has been letting me down. The battery doesn't hold charge for more than a few hours so I keep on missing calls and messages. Usually this doesn't matter much but yesterday it had disastrous consequences.
I had offered to fetch Luke's girlfriend and her son at the airport. Nicole and I had been sending text messages to one another about it and had agreed to meet at the pick-up zone. The plane was due at 12,15 so allowing for luggage collection etc. I planned to be at the aforesaid zone at 12 45. "Wait for me if I'm not there when you arrive" I told her. I remembered to take my phone so we could get in touch as soon as the plane landed. I didn't remember to charge the silly thing in advance, but when I checked it before I left thought it's juice would last out. How wrong I was!
Having cancelled my Saturday Beginner Agility session, I duly set out for the airport just before 12. There was a bit more traffic on the road than I had expected so I arrived at Cape Town International a little later than I had intended, but still well before 1 pm. I took the turn-off signposted "Pick-up Zone" collected my parking ticket and found a bay, a rather narrow one, quite near the entrance. I noted that the plane had been delayed, but had landed a few minutes before. There was no sign of Nicole and Lucas at the pick-up Zone so I sat down to wait in a position from which I could see the stream of people emerging from the arrivals hall.
After waiting about twenty minutes, which is the longest I have had to wait for luggage collection myself, I thought it would be a good idea to get in touch with Nicole and tried to ring her number. My phone simply refused to do anything but tell me to recharge the battery. Nothing for it" I told myself. I'll just have to sit and wait until they appear. " But when more than half an hour had gone by I thought Nicole must missed the plane or have gone home some other way. She had no doubt sent a message to tell me about it and I had not received it. My free parking time had now run out. I went to the information desk and got them to page her, but there was no response. I couldn't find a way to charge my phone so decided to leave a message and go home.
Meantime Nicole was standing outside the arrivals building in the drop-off zone. She was becoming frantic. Sure that I had been hijacked or had met with an accident she rang Luke who became a bit worried too and then Danielle who started ringing hospitals and police. Finally Nicole got an uber. She stopped off at Evergreen only to find that I had left hours before and was nowhere to be found. I drove home, not in the best of moods I must admit,and was told that Nicole had been looking for me. She wasn't in the best of moods either. I am glad to say that a plate of fish and chips each later, peace has been restored.
It struck me later that the advent of the cell phone has put paid to a whole genre of stories. So many love stories and romantic films produced in my youth centred round lovers failing to meet.. In those days this sort of thing happened all the time. I can't count how many times my husband and I made arrangements to meet which didn't come off because one of us went to the wrong meeting place. Nowadays it only happens to old grannies like me.