I went looking to buy a new wallet, and realized none of them had that little I.D. card that wallets all used to come with.
I used to love that little card, mostly because I had no other cards to put in a wallet. But listing my name and address and phone number on that teeny scrap seemed important. More important still was the emergency contact name.
I used to make the boys put one of my business cards in their wallets, in the desperate hope that if they were lying in a ditch, someone would rifle through their belongings and decide that I was the one to call. My business card is actually pretty useless; it says my name, which is different from my sons’, and website and phone number, but not what I do. I thought it would be unprofessional to put “mother” on it, though that is exactly what I want it to say if my kid is lying in a ditch.
I worry about these things. People only use their phones now, and I can picture police or hospital personnel scrolling through a list of nicknames and abbreviations and wondering who to contact, if they can get into the phone at all. The people closest to me are all identified in my phone by their first names only; if I’m the one lying in a ditch, it very well might be a public relations person from Subaru or Ford who gets the call, because they’re not named Ari or Christer or Mike the Miracle Worker (my trainer).
I’ve told the boys to put my full name in their phone listings alongside “Mom.” I doubt they did it; these are kids who once explained to me that the headphones they bought were not noise cancelling, but Mom cancelling.
My best hope is that anyone figuring out how to contact me in an emergency is also a mother; a scroll through our texts would be instantly deciphered by any mom.
Me: “Are you dead in a ditch?”
Ari: “I wish.” (This was a morning after a night before he’d prefer to forget.)
Me: “Are you coming home? Asking for a cat.”
Me, again: “When you come home, stack the cars in the drive for morning. Frankie is in your room and his litter is stinky.”
My text history with Christopher is just a string of unanswered questions. Either way, I reckon a mother would recognize the pattern of communication and yell, “I found Mom!”
Before I go anywhere for work, I have to fill in emergency contact info. I always put my sister Roz, because I know she will answer her phone unless she thinks the people who find me in a ditch disguise themselves as telemarketers. The thought that the life-saving people would call my sons and discover neither of them has ever initialized the message recording thing on their phones worries me. Both boys would see a number they don’t recognize and carry on, oblivious to my ditch dwelling predicament.
Maybe it’s not the wallet people who have to sort this out, after all. Maybe all cellphones should have a default emergency contact setting somewhere, somehow.
I’m going to make up my own little contact card for my new wallet when I get it. I will instruct those trying to contact my sons on my behalf to text them one of the following sentences:
“A package arrived here for you. Want me to open it?”
“How much was it I owed you again? I’ll transfer it now if you let me know.”
I guarantee they will get a response in 30 seconds.