Peace and paranoia

I have a love-hate relationship with my cellphone. On the one hand, it keeps me in contact with the world—and lets my husband keep tabs on me—plus it allows me to photograph the beautiful things I see each day.

Such as this.

And this.

On the other hand, my brain injury and general lack of technological know-how tend to make me paranoid about my phone. I no longer fear Vladimir Putin is secretly following me on Facebook … or is he? That’s just the kind of sentence he’d want me to type, nyet?

More than once I’ve been suspicious when my phone shows I’m getting a call from an unknown number. These days, though, the only known numbers I have are of close family members and the few friends I’ve kept in touch with. (And most of those friends would be appalled that I just ended a sentence with a preposition.)

Today’s crisis started when the morning’s Zoom yoga class ended. I was grumpy, as I often am, about what I perceive as other people’s lack of virus precautions and my own impatience over not yet having gotten the vaccine. I’m registered in my town, and today’s helpful email update counseled “patience.”


Sorry, patience is not one of my virtues.

So I lifted weights and then, for the first time in hours, opened my phone.

And there it was: a Messenger alert. I rarely use that app, so naturally I clicked on it right away. 😬

It was a former co-worker, asking if I was still involved with an activist group from my former suburb and calling me an “awesome hellraiser.”

I answered, “I don’t know about awesome, but since we moved … I’m not” involved with the group. Looking back at the exchange as I write this, I must have been afraid she was a hacker of my account or hers.

I got a reply:

“Oh, that’s right! How are you? Besides awesome, which you are.”

I responded: “Oh, thanks for saying that. I’m good, I really am. It’s just. Can u call me when u get a chance?”

Both the abbreviated spellings and the fact that I was reaching out for help to someone I hadn’t seen in more than a year shows how upset I was.

She didn’t have my phone number, so, despite my paranoia over privacy on the Facebook-owned platform, I tapped it out with no parentheses or hyphens, as if that would encrypt it from evildoers.

Then I waited. About 5 minutes.

I IM’d her (hey, that’s the term, isn’t it? 👍) confessing my TBI-fueled paranoia and asking her to give me a quick call.

She (if, in fact, that’s who it really was😱) would get back to me soon,

I waited again. No way was I going to interrupt my husband’s Zoom meeting for yet another of my phone crises.

Then I remembered an email I’d gotten that morning from a woman we’d both worked with at that same suburban newspaper. I checked, and I still had this friend’s number.

I called, and though she didn’t pick up, it was reassuring to hear her voice in the outgoing message. I laid out the situation rapidly, ending by reminding her that I’m nuts and wishing her well.

She later texted me back, but by that time I was off the phone with … wait for it … the actual woman who’d contacted me earlier. Not a hacker. Not Vladimir Putin.

I was relieved and delighted getting reacquainted with my former office mate. I now have her phone number in my contact list, so she’s not just a face on Facebook.

2 thoughts on “Peace and paranoia

  1. How amazing you are that you can work through any dilemma. Oh, also I learned last week that condemnation of the sentence ending preposition may be unnecessary. Supposedly some asshole came up with that dictate years ago. To be further explored…


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