Next spring break try to get away — without your cell

Helena Rodriguez

I’m in!
First I was out, but now I’m in. But now that I’m in, I hope that doesn’t mean I’m more out. Know what I mean?
I just got my first cell phone last week, so now I’m officially “in.” But I’m afraid that now that I’m more “in touch,” that I’ll actually be more “out of touch” with the world around me. Make sense?
I’ve purposely put off getting a cell phone as long as I could because I think they sometimes make life harder and even cause divorces. People go around trying to cram too much into every minute of the day and, thanks to cells, they can cram even more in.
These people are at Wal-Mart, not even aware of where they are or of other people around them because those cell phones are glued to their heads.
I didn’t want to be one of those rude and obnoxious people. Well, actually I was already rude and obnoxious before I got my cell phone. Now I’m rude and obnoxious and I’m armed with a cell phone.
Anyway, I’ve realized cell phones don’t cause divorces. People do. Just like guns don’t murder. People do. But like anything else, cell phones can be an answer to a prayer during an emergency or your worst nightmare. Depending on how you use them. So please, don’t abuse them.
But now that I’ve gotten this far into the column, this column really was not supposed to be about cell phones. So just take out your scissors or pen and mark out the top part of this column.
I could write a whole column, even a book about cell phones, but I’m not going to, so cut this sentence out, too.
This column is really supposed to be about getting away. So let’s pretend the column is just barely starting right here. Starting now. Ready. OK! Can you hear me now?
Anyway, my plan was to “get away” during spring break, which happened to be when I purchased my prepaid cell phone. Oops. I promised this wasn’t going to be about cell phones. Delete these lines.
This reminds me of the time my sister came to visit me in Abilene, Texas, to “get away.” But she brought her cell phone (really, this is not about cell phones). Anyway, she spent more time talking on her cell phone than to me. When she left I jokingly told her that she never really “got away” and she agreed.
When my daughter Laura and I “got away” for spring break to visit friends in Abilene, I thought we were “getting away.” But I not only had my cell phone — oops, there’s that word again — but I also had my laundry list of things I didn’t have time to do while studying for midterms the week before.
Instead of “getting away,” we ended up “getting stuck” at the mall. That’s where I spent the first part of my spring break. And when we got back home, I spent the last half of spring break studying.
My idea of “getting away” would have been going to my favorite walking trail at Redbud Park, visiting the prairie dog town and getting back to nature; but there just wasn’t time. We did have a nice little family reunion in Spur, Texas, with my dad’s family on our way up to Abilene. But once in Abilene, I felt rushed for time.
We managed to make it to the Abilene Zoo. That was my closest brush with nature. Oh yeah, we also went gravehunting in Anson, a small town near Abilene. I’ve been trying to find the grave of Gregorio Cortez, an old Mexican border folk hero I’m writing about in a novel. The problem is, someone stole his gravestone and one man tells me Cortez is buried at one cemetery while another man says he’s buried at another. I’ll talk more about Cortez in a future column.
It was great going to Abilene, but I regret I didn’t really “get away” and get back to nature. A priest once told me that we need to be in touch with God, with those around us and with nature. If one of those things is out of balance, then our whole life is.
When I got back home, I talked on the telephone to my sister Becky in Albuquerque. “You should come up to here next time,” Becky offered. “I know how you are about nature. We’ll go camping in the Jemez Mountains.”
Now that sounds like a clean “get away” to me. I think I’ll leave my cell phone behind when we go. But remember, this column is not about cell phones. It’s about “getting away.”
And in closing … excuse me a minute, my cell phone is ringing …
OK, I’m back. Now what was I saying? Oh yes, “Can you hear me now?” “Wait, not you, I’ll call you back later!” I’m talking to the people on the other line, I mean on the other side of the newspaper.
OK, now back to you readers. Like I was saying, it’s all about “getting away.”

Helena Rodriguez is a columnist for Freedom Newspapers of New Mexico. She can be reached at: