I sat on the boat seat, my cell phone in my hand gripped tightly. I had just placed the ring tone to vibrate, afraid the roar of the boat’s motor would drown any sound out. As the nose of our new boat rose above the water, then leveled out to skim smoothly across the reservoir, I looked down at my phone in my hand and realized that I wasn’t just holding my phone, I was holding onto my connection to love, approval, and feeling necessary.
Yes, necessary. Mike and I were watching the movie, “Young Guns” the other night, and it came to the part where the character played by Keifer Southerland tries to convince the Asian girl to run away with him. She tells him that in China, girls are not necessary. If there is a flood, the baby girls are allowed to float down the river and drown, as it will be the boys that are saved. Boys are necessary. She is happy now, because the man that has taken her on as his concubine has made her “necessary”.
Well, I am not anyone’s concubine, but with my death grip on my cell phone, waiting for any vibration that meant one of my children or my parents or anyone might need me, I realized that I was afraid I might miss an opportunity to be of importance to someone.
My cell phone doesn’t ring much, and when the house phone rings, we know it is my mother. My youngest son, the last bird left in the nest, receives all his phone calls on his cell phone, and my husband the same. I keep my cell phone on me at all times – just in case.
As the boat hit a wave, I felt the bump and my bottom left my seat just a little. I took the phone from my hand and placed it in the glove box of the boat. If I missed a call, I realized I would know it within five minutes, as that is when we would anchor, and I could check for missed calls. I needed to let go of that constant alert for someone who might need me and just embrace the moment.
We anchored in a cove over a sandbar where the water was only about five feet deep. I turned the ringer on my phone to loud and placed it on the dash. My husband climbed over the edge of the boat and down the ladder to test the water and the depth, although the fish finder had already determined that it wasn’t very deep.
“Man,” he exclaimed, “This is great. The bottom is sandy just like a beach.”
I shed my T-shirt and shorts, and in my old tank bathing suit, sat down on the edge of the boat with my feet in the rung of the ladder.
“Here, just get on my shoulders,” Mike suggested, as he backed up to me.
“No, if I get on your shoulders, I am sure to fall in, and I really don’t feel like going under the water tonight.”
Slipping down a little further, I placed my hands on his shoulders, ready to slip slowly down, using his body to ease the transition. But he turned around and lifted me down into the water.
I let out a yell at the shock of the cold water on my warm skin.
Mike laughed and said, “Shh, someone is going to think I’m back here killing you.”
I laughed and defending my outburst, replied, “I can’t help it, it is painful!”
Once in the water, we each swam laps to get a little exercise and to wear off the hot dogs with chili and cheese and the deep-fried home made French fries we’d eaten before leaving. We gave each other piggyback rides in the water, and Mike admired the wax job he’d given the boat. After a while, we climbed back in, dried off and shivered, then spent an hour trolling around the edges of the reservoir casting and reeling without a bite. It was a peaceful evening, the whole reservoir practically ours, as we only saw a few other boats.
I decided it was nice to be able to go out and just be together. Neither of our phones rang while we were out, no one called to make us “necessary”.
We’re home now, just hanging out, eating popcorn, he’s watching baseball (ugh), and I am writing and awaiting bedtime. My cell phone is still keeping its silent vigil. But somewhere out there, I found a feeling of being necessary without being needed. I feel necessary to myself.