Chasing Thoughts

“What’s your cell phone number?”

“I don’t have a cell phone.”


You’d think I just confessed to living on an alien planet.

The truth is, I do have a cell phone. It’s a tiny, out-dated little Samsung flip-phone that lives at the bottom of my purse, and rings like an old-fashioned rotary phone (when it’s turned on) (when it’s charged).

Here’s the thing. I work from home. Which means that ninety percent of the time, I am right near my trusty landline. If I’m not home, I’m either driving my car, shopping, or visiting with a real-live human — which means talking on the cell phone is either illegal, inappropriate, rude, or all of the above.

Which is why I found it to be totally ironic (and ridiculous) that I was in a complete freak-out on Christmas Eve because my cell phone wasn’t working. I had just left for Massachusetts to visit with friends for the holidays, and was calling to let them know I was on my way. But every time I tried to call, there was silence on the other end.

I spent 15 minutes in a commuter lot trying to get it to work to no avail. So, I got on the highway and made my way north.

All of my phone numbers are in there — I thought — how am I going to call folks on Christmas?

I don’t know why it’s not working.

Maybe I need a new phone?

Can I get a new phone today?

I wonder if there’s a phone store along the way?

It went on and on like this for more than an hour. I kept trying to bring my focus back to the car ride—my escape, finally, from the busy-ness of the past few months.

I had a great iTunes compilation of Patty Griffin songs in the CD player. As a treat, I’d stopped for a cup of coffee and two homemade donuts. I was excited to be out on the road, early with no traffic, singing out loud and engaging my mūla bandha a little.

How am I going to call for directions if I get lost?

If I stop at the mall on my way, maybe I can find a phone store there?

Do I really want to go to the mall on Christmas Eve?

Why am I worrying about this? I never use this phone!

The thoughts kept coming. Hitching a ride as I sped north on I-91. I’d get half-way through a song and there they were again…

I don’t know why it’s not working.

Maybe I need a new phone?

Can I get a new phone today?

I wonder if there’s a phone store along the way?

Patti Griffin, my thoughts and I arrived in Massachusetts about an hour later.

What if I take out the battery pack and try to reset the phone? That might work.

This is silly. I never use this phone!

Maybe if I just turn it off and on again?

I pulled over to the first rest stop, turned the phone off and then on and sure enough, it worked!

And then I realized…I’d spent the entire car ride worrying about something I didn’t need to worry about. I spent the past hour and a half trying to change something I had no control over. In the end, what was going to be was. It just was.

But instead of being in the moment, with great music and hot coffee and homemade donuts on a beautifully cold, blue-sky morning…I chose to worry.

How often do we do this? Chase after thoughts down a really long road, when we could just enjoy the moments along the way?

• • •

Image, ©2011 by Jen Payne, from a collage entitled Dashboard.

10 thoughts on “Chasing Thoughts

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    1. That very true! It’s the latest lesson in yoga – all that breathing and moving, how can one not be in the moment? I keep trying to bring it out of the yoga studio and into every day, but it sure it a tough lesson! New Year’s resolution…great idea!

  1. I have a cell, but it’s always on silent mode. I don’t like the idea of being accessible every moment of every day, no matter where I’m hanging out. People survived without cell phones before and I don’t want to become totally reliant on a hunk of technology. Granted, I love gadgets and I own a lot of them, but I don’t let them rule my life. The little things that matter most can easily get drowned out by a little screen that lights up. :-)

  2. I found your blog by way of a comment you left at The Crowing Crone. I also enjoy writing, and couldn’t help poking about a bit in your archives. I’ve bookmarked your site and hope to return soon to absorb some more of that goodness. Your internal cell phone conversation had me laughing, but also nodding my head in recognition. Good stuff.

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