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Cellphones need a ‘don’t forget me’ app

GetUpStudio/iStock/Thinkstock woman using smartphone
DON’T FORGET ME! Cellphones can do lots of things — why not remind you not to leave them behind?
Front Porch: Why can’t your phone tell you to take it with you?

Not that long ago, I wrote about the case of the disappearing glasses. In that instance, I found them tucked in a drawer they had fallen into before I shut the drawer, which I hardly ever do, and after I had already ordered two new pairs to replace them. I teased that there would be a sequel about the forgotten cellphone. Well, it’s time to tell that tale!

My wife, Carla, and I took our two oldest grandkids, Graham and Addy, to a family celebration at Carla’s sister’s north of Wabash, Ind. That’s a fair hike from our home in Franklin. We spent the afternoon eating and talking, all outside under a tent, enjoying each other’s company. About 6 p.m. we loaded up the grandkids and headed south.

I thought I knew a shortcut to the main road. Naturally, it’s not a shortcut if you get lost, and we got lost. Eventually we were back on the main road, and cruised through Wabash down past Oak Hill High School. The wind turbines north of Swayzee were just ahead of us when my wife got this funny look on her face.

Calm before the storm
She was driving. “I think I left my phone back there,” she said. You can think she said it calmly if you want.

“You’re kidding, right?” I said.

“Check my purse to be sure,” she answered.

I have a firm rule: I don’t get into my wife’s purse — best not to mess with her personal stuff.

By now Graham was awake in the back seat and caught on to what was happening.

“I’ll check it, Grandma,” he said. Eight-year-olds have no fear.

“Your phone isn’t in here, Grandma,” he said.

She instructed me to call it. Unfortunately, someone answered, and it wasn’t anyone in the car. It was my brother-in-law, back in Laketon. “Yeah, it’s here, right where she set it down,” he said.

Carla hung her head. “Well, I’ll have them send it to me,” she said.

“In the mail — are you serious?” I asked. By now it was hard to conceal that while it wasn’t funny, I was just glad it wasn’t my phone left behind.

“OK, I’ll come back up tomorrow and get it,” she said.

“Just turn around,” I said. “That doesn’t make sense. It’s 45 minutes back, or a full two and a half hours tomorrow.”

She turned around. We made it back, but not before I got us lost again. Finally, we had the phone.

The grandkids couldn’t wait to tell their parents why we were late when we finally dropped them off. That shouldn’t be a surprise!

Where is the technology?
In Carla’s defense, I blame the phone. Why didn’t it blurt out: “You’re forgetting me — take me with you!” Or as we left, why didn’t a stern voice say: “Alert, phone left behind!”

Sound crazy? Maybe. Or maybe you haven’t been all alone in the house when you start hearing noises or even voices. Turns out it’s the phone, with a voice telling you it’s an amber alert. Or it’s the phone, telling you lightning has struck in your area. Or it’s an annoying warning signal, alerting you to a flash flood.

Think about it. If the phone can automatically start talking for those things, why not to remind you it’s been left behind?

Now that’s one app I would pay for! Cheaper than buying gas to go back and get the phone!

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