SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

One Ringie-Dingie, Two Ringie-Dingies
By Dave Kiffer


July 22, 2008

Ketchikan, Alaska - Yes, I have finally purchased my first cell phone.

No, I am not going to tell you the number. I really don't want anyone calling me (more on that later). I didn't buy the danged thing so folks could call me. Well, actually I did. Sort of.

jpg  Life, Death and Road Maintenance by Dave Kiffer

I broke down a couple of weeks ago as we were getting ready to head for Disneyland.

My wife pointed out that since she would be in conference meetings during the day while my son and I were on the rides, it would make sense from a communication standpoint if I had a cell phone so she could let me know when her meetings were done and we could arrange to meet up.

As usual, she was spot on in her logic. But the execution of said "more convenient communication" left a little to be desired.

Unfortunately, the first time she called me was one of those "inconvenient" times.

We were just going over the edge on Splash Mountain (a fifty foot drop!) when the front right hand pocket of my jeans started playing some cloying pre-programmed ring tone.

It wouldn't have been a good time to answer, even if I could have peeled my hands off the safety rail long enough to fish my phone out.


"Hello, honey, I'm done."


"Where should I meet you?"


(loud splashing sound, followed by service cut off)

So much for being in touch.

Natch, when calm had returned I tried to call her back, but I misdialed and got a wrong number. Showing bad phone manners I immediately hung up (I didn't want to waste any of my precious "minutes" apologizing).

Fair enough.

Besides, we were in line for another ride: The Davey Crockett Canoe Ride, which has always been one of my favorites since I was my son's age.

I like the canoe ride because you actually have to work a little. They make you paddle the danged thing. Yes, the "guides" could probably do it themselves, but part of the fun is to actually j-stroke your own way around the Rivers of America.

(Just a disclaimer here, my seven year old, Liam, does not like the canoe ride. He says it is his least favorite ride in Disneyland because it makes his hands tired. I want to tell him that one of his great-great-great-great-great forebearers was with Lewis and Clark - on his mother's side - for goodness sake, but why bother. The kids of today are such wimps. )

Anyway, we are paddling around when suddenly that idiot ring tone goes off again. I started fussing with my pocket and - natch - that meant no more paddling.

I got it out of my pants after about the third ring. Then I immediately accidentally hit the wrong button and disconnected the call.

That was okay, the glares from the other paddlers and the guides indicated that I had already compromised their "wilderness experience" enough. They probably would have dumped me overboard if I had actually answered the call.

It didn't matter. When I checked the message log later I saw it was a call back from the wrong number I had previously dialed.

That's the joy of that sort of technology. You see an unfamiliar number on your machine and you use redial - or whatever - to call it back because you assume it must be something important even though you don't have a clue where it came from.

Trust me, it's never that important. Just hit delete rather than redial.

Then again maybe the person I had accidentally called was just as clueless as me and was trying to delete but hit the wrong button. The buttons are very small and the print is only readable under an electron microscope.

Eventually, I did find a quiet, calm place (Thunder Mountain Railroad!) and get a successful return call through to my wife and we made the arrangements for which the cell phone was purchased in the first place.

Fortunately, for the rest of the week, we were able to make plans in the morning before heading over the park each day and so I did not use the portable miniature communications device for the rest of the trip.

Actually, that's not quite true. I took it out when were at the airport on the way home.

I was in the restroom and I held the cell phone up to my ear while I was standing at the urinal.

"Uh huh," I mumbled a few times into it.

I didn't want to be only person in the bathroom not using his cell phone or blue tooth thingamagiggie. I'm important too!

"Well, I gotta go." I said after a few more "uh huhs" and stuffed the danged thing back in my pocket as I headed over to the washbasin.

I still don't really know how to answer it successfully, so that's why I'm not passing out my cell phone number. You can try to call me, but I'll just inadvertently disconnect you.

Plus, I really, really, really don't want to hear that lame-o ring tone ever again.


Dave Kiffer is a freelance writer living in Ketchikan, Alaska.
Contact Dave at

Dave Kiffer ©2008

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