I have had considerable technological trouble with my cell phone over the past several days. First the screen wouldn't work. They sent me a new one, but I couldn't get the cover off of my old phone to put onto the "new" one. This new phone, in less than twenty-four hours, has screwed up twice by shrinking the volume in the earpiece two half a notch above audible. Something tells me that this "possibly reconditioned" phone will be going back to the folks at Cingular.
I do. I appreciate technology, but the thing is that when we rely on it and it then fails us, we suffer unnecessary stress.
Anyway, on my way back from the Cingular store -- whose associates really could not care less -- I decided I needed a butterscotch-dipped cone from Dairy Queen. While I was waiting for my butterscotchy goodness, I noticed what I have been looking out for for weeks. The sign. The sign that says that DQ hibernates for winter, starting October 31. The sign that strikes fear in the hearts of many. The sign that incites panic throughout the land -- of Murray, anyhow.
They handed me my cone -- and I have to say that the butterscotch shell is way better here than in Henderson -- and I took it to my car where I rolled down the windows and played "This Time of Year." As I sat there, I really didn't know how to feel. Glad that it's getting cooler and that the leaves are changing colors? Sad because I was alone? Nostalgic about the past -- sad that it's gone or happy that it happened? I didn't know how to feel, but I was feeling something.
I did learn something, though. Apparently, butterscotch-dipped cones are the favorite among many. I sat there for just about ten minutes during a relatively slow part of the day, and I saw about three other people with them.
One of them happened to be middle-aged man in a business suit who seemed to be spending "quality" time with his wife and two kids. He never got off of the phone for the duration of the visit. I say visit because he was standing next to his big truck while his over-made-up wife -- who was abstaining from DQ's cool treats, certainly to maintain her figure -- tended to her SUV with Soccer Mom stickers on the back. For a while, they all four stood together in the parking lot, but no one seemed to notice any of the others. The kids, of course, were enamored of their (chocolate-dipped) ice cream cones. The man held his idly while conducting some supposedly imporant business. The woman/mother/wife pranced around a bit in her high-heeled boots and repeatedly smoothed her blouse to ensure that she looked just so.
They continued this way until I finished my own ice cream, so I naturally, pulled my car into gear and left. By that time, I was glad to leave. I knew for sure, then, what it was that I was feeling. It was a bit of sadness. Not for me, though. Suddenly, I felt less alone that any of them standing there. But I also felt happy that my family doesn't have to schedule slots for superficial quality time. We are aware of one another. And I also felt a responsibility. One that reminds me that, if and when I have my own family, I want to have one that is connected, that isn't just a loosely associated group of people who are more interested in business or in themselves than each other.