Teri Orr: Still, the pen is mightier | ParkRecord.com

Teri Orr: Still, the pen is mightier

Teri Orr, Park Record columnist

All week long when I hit a bump or dip with my car, there was clunk in the trunk, as if a heavy object was sliding around. To be accurate, I don’t really have a trunk in this new car — it is an SUV Subaru. What I have is a hatchback and a really big space to put stuff in. This is my seventh, maybe eighth Subaru. When I became a single parent in Tahoe in the ’70s I needed a dependable car for us instead of the used Jeeps and bad vans we had been used to. My older friend (he must have 50 at the time) suggested a Subaru and I trusted him on so many topics, so I bought one. And even though the location changed in my life to new mountains, these in Park City, and new men came in my life with different cars, I always was most comfortable with the dependability provided me by my Subaru.

Somehow I got it wrong with the last one. I bought a sedan and it was lovely but it was old somehow. It said "this is a respectable car, driven by an adult who has settled in life." There wasn’t even a whisper of adventure. It was a handsome car, I’ll give it that, but was just somehow… boring. When the lease was done I eagerly signed up for a new SUV that screamed! The grandkids LOVED the change.

Now about the same time I needed to upgrade my phone, and rather like my vehicle loyalty, I am pretty loyal to Apple products . I told my 13-year-old granddaughter as I upgraded she could have my old phone. She was ecstatic but her family aren’t AT&T people. I can’t even remember now if they are Verizon or T-Mobile but they are NOT AT&T. This matters because the process to unlock my old phone from AT&T service took six weeks. When you are a teenaged girl with an unusable cool tool, like a smart phone that you have been gifted, this time frame is an eternity. Times two.

The delay was multi-layered — I made her the promise of my old phone for when my new arrived… that took longer than expected and turned out to be the week before Sundance. My attempts to unlock the phone online, even with her father’s assistance, failed and I was out of time to deal with it… I promised after Sundance we would fix it. And we tried. We went into an AT&T store in Salt Lake City and they took the information and said we should receive a confirmation in 24 hours. And we did not. Another password was needed for a phone I had abandoned now six weeks before. I change passwords all the time because I have many devices and I forget and so I change them again.

It would require me showing up in yet another AT&T store but Izzy would have to be there too, or at least her/my phone. So we did that, two weeks ago. And we waited another couple of days for an approval hat required one MORE step by her family to connect her to their system. A little over a week ago, almost two full months after my "gift," she had a working phone. I apologized again for the delay and she seemed to have moved on to the world of emoticons happily.

This week my whole little family gathered at a restaurant for a birthday/Valentine’s/Presidents Day lunch. All the grandkids and my kids and spouses and many colorful bags. When I opened an envelope with a gift certificate for a massage at a lovely Asian style spa I was thrilled. It was at that point the youngest grandchild, the 10-year-old, was ready to burst. His father explained there was one more part to my present. The Asian theme has been carefully researched. The little guy looked like he would explode by now he was so excited to share something. My son the physicist explained in detail the process of selecting the second part of my gift.

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"Have you seen that commercial for switching your phone from AT&T to another carrier?" And we all laughed about the people with chainsaws and stuff who were cutting their bills in half creating the musical sound of the familiar old song, "naw naw naw, naw naw naw, hey hey hey, goodbye." Now Axel spoke… "So we bought you a samurai sword because the grandma in the commercial uses a sword to cut away from the phone company," My son said simply. "A lot of thought went into this and it required us going to pawn shops to buy you an authentic sword."

I am very close to a pacifist. I allow no weapons in my home. Even all the years I dated a top cop he had to keep his gun locked in his car. All the faces around the table were waiting for my response. And there was only one. I burst out… laughing. They had gone to so much effort to tie in the stupid phone situation to clever gift I had no choice.

They had wisely left the sword in their car instead of brandishing it in the restaurant so I took possession in the parking lot as we were all leaving. The kids gathered around and I held the sword and the blade and looked like a pirate might look if they were a grey-haired grandmother.

I keep meaning to take it out of the back of my car. I have no idea where it will end up living in my life. But for now, as it slides around the back of my trunk that isn’t, in a car which is an SUV, I feel slightly more adventuresome than I did three months ago. Which is a great gift to enjoy any day but especially this Sunday in the Park…

Teri Orr is a former editor of The Park Record. She is the director of the organization that provides programming for the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Center for the Performing Arts.