Friday, April 07, 2006

Cell...a blog by SGS

No, this is not a copy cat retelling of the brilliant Stephen King novel of the same title, but it is my own tale of horror for the day.
This horror is personified in my cell phone. Yes, the phone that has metal on it's face that eats at my own every time I put it to my cheek, due to my metal allergies. My cell phone, that ever since it was mauled by Molly the Devil, has resented me and acted in a strange and angry way. This cell phone ate my face away to a zombie-like state last summer, during Pacific Overtures at Signature Theatre. Bloody scabs covered my left cheek due to that silent beast that was always close to my body...silently pulsing it's all knowing blinking green light. This is the tale of the end of my evil friend, and it's parting gift to me...a venture into the evil abyss of a zombie laden mall in North Arlington. This is a story of survival.

The day started on an upbeat note. Matt agreed to join me on my first 3 dogwalks, just to keep me company. It was a very nice gesture that indeed started my day out right. Despite the light rain that quickly made puddles on the dry streets, it was a lovely Spring morning.

We were walking Reagan the Pointer when everything started to unravel...and it all started with one little squirrel. This foolish squirrel decided to dart out in front of us from one bush to a neighboring tree. Reagan's instincts kicked in.
Reagan made a quick sprint to the right, which caught his leash on my cell phone clip, which was tucked into my jeans pocket. In one split second, the phone was flung from my pocket, and thrown into one of the growing puddles on Luray Street.

"Fuck!", I exclaimed, as I retrieved the phone from the murky and cherry blossom filled puddle. Funny enough, I got a call from Lynn Filusch not 2 minutes later. The phone seemed to work fine, so I breathed a sigh of relief. This sigh did not last, however. I excused myself off of the phone from Lynn, as the rain had intensified, and I feared further water damage to the phone by keeping it up to my ear. The phone immediately started to beep uncontrollably. This beeping intensified for about 20 minutes, a sort of countdown to destruction.
Twenty minutes later, the phone shut off, and would not come back on. I tried to charge it later, hoping that it would somehow come back to life. Nothing. I took it apart, dried it off and put it back together again. Nothing. Dead.

I dropped Matthew off at home, and continued my work day. No phone communique. Unbearable, almost. I listened to tapes on my cassette player for hours. I listened to Dolly Parton telling her own life story on audio. I ADORE this. It kept me company most of the day. I finished my dog day afternoon, and returned to home, husband, and puglet.

I dropped him off at work, and made my trek up Glebe Road to the Ballston Commons Mall. This is where the nearest T-Mobile store is. Ballston Commons Mall is also one of my most hated destinations. Most malls are these days. Malls just seem so 5 years ago to me. They became hip in the 70's, and put tons of strip malls out of business. Now, I think that the tide is turning the other way. Most of the stores are home to craft stores, or cheap-ghetto-airbrushed-Bob Marley and pot leaf tee-shirt-kind of places. Trashy.
I remember in my college days, going to the Apple Blossom Mall in Winchester, VA. I went many times with my friend, Katie Sina. She would often remark at the throngs of rabid teens and skeletal girls in slut-wear. "Wow...the youth is really out tonight...", she would say in a tongue in cheek manner. I would laugh at her joke every time she said it. It echoed in my head tonight as I walked into the teen cruising hell that IS Ballston Common.
A favorite film of mine started to play in my head...Rabid gangs of ghetto wannabe 14 year olds, who seemed to wander in packs of 6-8, stalked every floor. Anorexia is as big a problem as obesity in this country. Gaggles of skeletal thin teen and pre-teen girls loudly gossiped to cell phones, while remaining in their packs of 3-5. I felt incredibly old and out of place. Whenever I saw a person of my age or older, I felt a relief when our eyes would meet. I knew they felt it too...I saw it. We all felt unsafe amid the rabid-teenage zombie plague.

I ventured to the T-Mobile store, and explained the situation. Matt and I are on a Family plan with our phones, started by had to be authorized by him to extend the plan 2 years to get a free phone. So, I had to get in touch of him, and then HE had to authorize me to do this through customer service, and then I would be in business. I called him, he called them, he called me, ok, we're set. I go back to the store. She says that he changed the plan and renewed it over the phone, and I had to be the one to do that to get the free phone. I have to call him back so that he could call them back, then change it back, call me back, and then it would be ok.
Ok, I call him, explain, he goes to call them back.
Time passes.
I am awaiting the call, and getting sick of the snooty glances from the ghetto queen running the store, who gave me those glances ever since I told her that my plan was through my partner, Matt. Funny, that.
I start to walk around the mall, zombie-like myself. I stumbled around, half tired, half starving. The longer I was there, the more I seemed to fit in to the mindless hordes who stalked the linoleum of Ballston Common. I felt one with their vacant stares into windows offering wares that some of them already wore. A numb army of consumerism, marching in tandem. I marched their march. What else was I to do? I was waiting in limbo, waiting for my substitute cell( a work phone) to pulse and give me marching orders.

I saw the zombie throng of cell phone attached humanoids crowding one particular store...the Suncoast. It's neon light flickered in the window, where herds of the teenage undead wandered behind.

I wondered why they were all drawn there in crowds, until I saw the sign..."GOING OUT OF BUSINESS SALE". Wow...all Suncoasts have been bought out bye FYE. I hate that....Suncoast was always an upstart, renegade feeling movie store with TONS of obscure titles and lots of cool memorabilia. FYE is a lame, family oriented movie-n-music mart with no imagination in it's stock of cookie-cutter bestselling films. Translation: I couldn't buy Orgy of the Dead there. FYE is the WalMart of video stores. I went down the escalator to the store, and rabidly explored its remaining contents. Things were 70% off at the absolute least. I prowled through the Horror section with avid hunger, as tons of the Teenage undead did the same, in utter silence, all around me. One false move, and they night have devoured me, I thought. Still no pulse from my Cell.
I walked out of Suncoast with these gems...Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter, The Dead Next Door, and Season of the Witch. All for $8.
Still no Cell Pulse.
I am ravaged with hunger, so I tear into the throat of an elderly woman using a walker. Just kidding. I go to Sbarro's Authentic Nasty Pizza and get some reheated cardboard with cheese on it. Yummy.

I get the call...

Matt informs me that the customer service imp has fixed it all, and if they had a problem, call him. The imp's name was Andrew.
I push past the throngs of rabid zombies, who by now have recognized me as not one of their own, due to my desire and willingness to escape the confines of the Monroeville-uh-I mean-Ballston Common Mall.

The Kiosk wench, who is obviously a biggot to the faggot, rolls her eyes again as I approach. "Here comes the poof", I seem to envision her sighing. I tell her to try the transaction again. She does. It still doesn't work. I tell her to call the imp-uh-I mean-Andrew. She does. Still no dice. I make a desperate call to my hubster, explaining the chaos at the Ballston Mall, and my need for rescue, as I have been there for 2 hours now, and my parking rate is going up and up.
A thunderstorm starts. I see the flashes of lightning through the skylights of the mall, as I am on the very top level of it, dealing with Miss Queen of T-Mobile. Her weapons-adjectives, eye rolls, apathy.
I jam the dead cell phone in my hand into her eye, which makes her stagger back for a minute, before baring her fangs she leaps at me and...
I'm losing reality.
I need to get out of Ballston Common.
Me and Matty agree to deal with this together at the kiosk in the morning.
Oh God...I have to venture back into this death nest of teenage zombies and Kiosk queens? God help me. At least I won't be alone this time.
My dead cell phone sits next to me now. No longer blinking its evil pulsing light. No longer eating at my face with it's metal teeth. Any minute, I expect it to come back to life and start beeping at me.
I think I watch too many horror films.
Day one.
Updates tomorrow.


Jeff said...

Good luck with the phone ordeal! Man, I haven't been to Ballston Common in such a long time, and even then it was only for a trip to the movie theater. Pentagon City (where I catch the Metro) is also becoming overrun by tourbus-loads of teen zombies now that it seems to be tourist season. Sigh.

StephenGregorySmith said...

Beware the invasion! If they sense you are not one of their own, they will devour you!

Mark said...

cell phone alergy - interesting - how do you find out if you have that - for the past couple years ( since my cell phone use has increased a lot - I have what I call crusty ear. The inside of my ears gets crusty.....what did you do to help your scabby issues?

StephenGregorySmith said...

Mark- I tried to use the hands free device more than I held the phone close to my head. If your phone has a speaker phone option, that is a good bet too.
Hydrocortisone cream helps the crustiness.
Basically..get the phone as far away from your head as possible!
It's evil!

Eleasha said...

You so crazy!!

Sammy's Jay said...

Are you channeling Hunter Thompson, great reading!

StephenGregorySmith said...

Thanks, Jay!!
Quite a complement, indeed!
Glad you liked it. After all of that frustration, I just sat at the laptop and vomited all of this out. And part 2 the next day.
Thanks, Bunches!