Joining the herd


Count me in. I’ve joined the herd.

I walked through the open door feeling uncomfortable. It was the AT&T store. My freewheeling days of being a non-cellphone user were finally up. I slipped inside wondering if anyone would spot my discomfiture. Was the fact that I’d never owned a cellphone obvious?

At that moment, my sweetie pie Ryan called out, “Here’s a virgin cellphone user!” So, whatever anonymity I had was instantly gone.

A dark-haired woman who was perusing cellphone cases grinned and gazed at me. “Really!” It felt like she was staring at an animal long thought extinct.

Geez! I wanted to scream, “I am not a technophobe! I have both laptop and desktop computers. I can layout a magazine in InDesign and am comfortable with Photoshop. I read on a Kindle. I have five social media sites, three e-mail accounts, a website, and a blog.”

But…I have never owned a cellphone.


Twenty years of begging my students to “put down the phone” was exhausting.

I have written about this before. As a teacher of 20 years, my disdain for cellphones runs deep. I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time asking … cajoling … begging … OK, threatening students to, “PLEASE STEP AWAY FROM THE PHONE! Please, stop cradling those electronic devices like they’re defenseless newborns. And, geez, are those tears? I promise I’ll give the phone back at the end of class.”

“But Ms. Montgomery,” students always say when they learn of my phone-less condition. “What if someone needs you in an emergency?”

“They should call 911.”

Then they shake their heads, unable to comprehend how I can exist without a phone.

A tiny bleached-blond woman, who didn’t look much older than my high school kids, approached me at the cellphone store and asked how she could help.

“I have to get a phone.”

She smiled. “Which one?”

“I have no idea!” I explained that I needed the phone for two reasons. One is that, as an author, I need to be on Instagram, and while I have an account, who knew you couldn’t post from a computer. The other reason is that we’re planning to buy a home in St. Croix in the Virgin Islands where there are no landlines. AT&T is the only large carrier that operates there.

I pointed at a random phone on a display rack. “I’ll take that one.”

She requested my ID and checked my credit score. “What am a buying, a car?” I mumbled under my breath.

“What color would you like? We have black, red, white, and purple.”

“Purple, I said, not realizing she meant the color of the phone. I thought she was describing the case, which would cover my new device, protecting the wee thing from harm. When she appeared with a purple phone, I still said fine, then I wandered off to the cellphone-cover wall. Who knew there were so many decorative options? For me the choice was quick and easy. I grabbed the case that was zebra striped – an homage to my 40 years as a football official.

I don’t think anyone will mistake this phone for theirs,” I said to Ryan. “Purple with zebra stripes.”

“I see that.”


With my new phone, I’m afraid I’ll end up like these folks, ignoring those around me.

I’d like to tell you that I’m delighted to have my new phone, but I can’t help feeling a bit off. I have railed against the devices for so long, I feel like a traitor. I fear becoming the woman who was so engrossed in her phone she fell face first into a mall water fountain. Or the people who slip into the Grand Canyon every year trying to take that perfect selfie. Or the couples who go out to dinner and ignore one another while they text other friends.

I’m trying to cozy up to my new phone, but our relationship remains a bit rocky. Still, I know I’ll eventually adjust.

A least, I hope I will.

Wild Horses on the Salt Cover 2

Wild Horses on the Salt

A woman flees an abusive husband

and finds hope in the wilds of the Arizona desert.

Published by Liaison – A Next Chapter Imprint

Order your copy here:

Rebecca Quinn escapes her controlling husband and, with nowhere else to go, hops the red-eye to Arizona. There, Gaby Strand – her aunt’s college roommate – gives her shelter at the Salt River Inn, a 1930’s guesthouse located in the wildly beautiful Tonto National Forest.

Becca struggles with post-traumatic stress, but is enthralled by the splendor and fragility of the Sonoran Desert. The once aspiring artist meets Noah Tanner, a cattle rancher and beekeeper, Oscar Billingsley, a retired psychiatrist and avid birder, and a blacksmith named Walt. Thanks to her new friends and a small band of wild horses, Becca adjusts to life in the desert and rekindles her love of art.

Then, Becca’s husband tracks her down, forcing her to summon all her strength. But can she finally stop running away?


5 thoughts on “Joining the herd

  1. sharonledwith says:

    Just ease into it, Anne. Power off half an hour before bed, and don’t sleep with it in your bedroom. I keep mine in my office, and also keep it in my purse when out with hubby. I’ll check it periodically throughout the day, but try to keep it from running my life. Good Luck!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s