BRENDA CULLERTON has a tiny tattoo of an open book on her left ankle. She blogs instead of jogs, shops occasionally, reads compulsively, and is no longer wise beyond her years. She lives and works in New York City. She also writes books:
The Craigslist Murders
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 OK. I’m not about to bore you here with all the things I don’t know how to do with a cellphone. As many of you know, I don’t even OWN a cell phone. But there is one thing I am DELIGHTED I don’t know how to do….

And that is take pictures of food on plates. What the fuck is up with this anyway? Everybody taking pictures of their food?’I mean, if you’ve just come through a fucking famine, I get it. I do. If you live in Ethiopia or the Sudan. Or if you’re eating something like yak hoof salad in Outer Mongolia. Fine. Take a picture. But scrambled eggs with blueberry muffins and orange juice in Williamsburg? Puhlease!

Williamsburg. Don’t let’s even go there. We go there because our son and his girlfriend live on Bedford Avenue. Oh. And for those of you who live in Outer Mongolia, Williamsburg is in Brooklyn. I call it, the ghetto of youth. The first time we went, I didn’t want to get out of the car. I figured the only people older than me were  in caskets at that funeral home on the corner of 3rd St. But if you do go to Williamsburg, by all means, bring your Visa Card. And your Amex card. But leave the AARP card at home. Because there are no discounts in Williamsburg for AARP members. God, how I detest that acronym. American Association for Retired People. Who are they kidding? Retirement is almost as obsolete as leaving a message at the beep. I mean, who the hell can afford to retire anymore? Aside from maybe 26 year-old APP (that’s app not AARP) developers and hedge fund titans and sanitation workers. (You don’t want to know about their pensions, believe me.) 

It’s strange, tho. I never thought I had ‘issues’ (I detest that word, too. Whatever happened to the word PROBLEMS?) with aging. I used to refer to Botox as lethal injections. But every time that card arrives in my mailbox, I scissor it up into tiny teeny pieces and throw it in the garbage.  And every time, some kid sells me a ticket at the movies for $10.50 instead of the ridiculous $14.50, I wanna weep on the escalator. So… There you go. I guess I do have issues with aging.

But whoa. I have really f’ing derailed here. What was I talking about? Oh. Cellphones. Allow me to ‘share’ this one short story about the time I did own a cellphone.

I was in Italy. Alone. Now, in Italy, you don’t own a cellphone, you might as well be dead. In fact, they probably bury you with a cell phone in Italy.

So I buy this throw away drug phone at some TIM store in Milan.

The guy who sells it me is about 12. He’s stunned when I ask him how to turn it on. But he shows me the basics. Like push this to speak, push that to end call.

And off I go. I’m even excited.

For the next three days, I hear the ring tone. I push the green button. I speak. No, I shout. Pronto! Pronto! Hello? Nobody answers.

Finally, a friend e mails me. I’m using internet cafes all over town to blog. We set up a dinner date.

Bring your phone, she says.

And there we are in the restaurant.

What the hell’s your problem, she says. Why don’t you answer me when I call?

I do, I say. I shout, I scream.. Niente. Nobody’s there.

Show me the phone, she says.

And then she laughs. She laughs so hard, there are tears on her face.

What’s so funny, I say.

The shrink wrap, Brenda. You forgot to take off the shrink wrap.

I thought the shrink wrap was some kind of special protector, something that kept the phone dry in the rain.

Anyway, the only time I really missed or wished I had a cellphone was at that last Jay Z concert. When they were racing me down those corridors on a gurney and I was clutching at my heart, hoping it would somehow hold it in, it hurt so much. And there was Jay, up on these gigantic monitors., rapping me into the afterlife. And all I could think of, was: Oh God! They’re gonna send me to that horrible hospital out here where that woman died in in E.R.; where they just walked around her when she was having seizures….