One good thing, probably the only good thing, I can think of about those damned electronic devices the young have attached to their fingertips day and night, is they allow me to point my camera at my grand-daughters without being detected.
Well, most of the times. Occasionally one of them will sense what I'm up to and lift their eyes to give me the evils.
How did we manage before the advent of the cell phone? When I was flying from Auckland to Taranaki recently, after I got to the airport, when flights started being cancelled left, right and centre because of heavy fog, I realised I didn't have mine. I thought I should let my daughter at my destination know I wouldn't be there in time to watch her demonstration at the Home and Lifestyle Expo and ask her to contact my friend, Bev who was going to collect me from the airport. My flight had been due to depart at 9 am and I was rescheduled on to the 6.30 pm flight. I sent emails from one of the few computers for public use in the departure terminal but had no idea what time they might be read.
While I figured out what to do next I went for a coffee and, as one does in such circumstances, struck up a conversation with another delayed traveler. Lovely man, he insisted that I use his phone to contact my daughter in Auckland to see if she could come to my rescue and help me pass eight hours or so. But could I remember her phone number? Either her cell phone or her landline? No, of course not. One doesn't these days, does one, our phones do all that for us. Luckily, from somewhere in the dim, dark recesses of my memory I could remember my son's number so I had to ring him back at home on the farm and get him to ring my daughter. But then I didn't know if he had got hold of her, if she was free to come and pick me up and if so, where to meet her. The other travel god (not the one of flight departures) was smiling on me and as I was strolling past a doorway I spotted my daughter hurrying past towards the departure lounge. Just as well, she may not have been amused if she had to traipse all over the terminal looking for me!
She drove me around to the place where I had left my car parked for the few days I would be away and asked there if I could look in my car for the phone. A delightful young male employee came along to help me, even got down on his knees to look under the car seats and rushed off to find a phone to ring the number for me. Nope, it wasn't in the car.
Leone and I had a laugh when we got back to her place, rang my number and, sure enough, heard it ringing. She'd looked in the bedroom where I'd slept the previous night and not seen it. Black phone sitting on black and white bedspread.
I was surprised that she hadn't rung the number when my son told her I couldn't find it. After all, I do that about once a week to find where I've put the darn thing.
So that got me wondering how I would have managed in similar circumstances in the past. I would have managed, wouldn't I? I remember sitting for nine hours in a departure lounge at Brisbane airport years ago. Did I get stressed about letting people know? Nope, I, along with all the other passengers, just waited and left it to the people at the other end to find out when we would arrive. Yes, there was someone there to meet me.
The whole episode also gave me cause to reflect on the lovely people who are out there and come to our assistance when we do need it. The kind man at the airport and the young man at the car parking place. When I arrived back to collect my car, I was lugging my suitcase across uneven ground when a voice called out asking me had I found my phone and stop, wait, let him carry my bag for me.
Good things happen when you meet strangers.