It's kind of an absolute flip-flop in mentality: In America I couldn't leave my phone. In Georgia, I can't keep my phone on me.
The most recent example of my detachment of communication resulted in the indefinite loss of Mr. Nokia. I can't even make up a great excuse for losing "him" besides the fact that I was crammed between a railing and a window.
This was the second time (within a month) I've dropped the phone while in transit. The first time was in a teacher's car on the way home from school. This time I dropped it in a crack between my seat and the sliding door on my way to Kutaisi last weekend.
It's not as though I hate the phone, although it's pretty much dated in the "Saved by the Bell" era, I just don't have the awareness of it like I do with my Blackberry—that used to live on my hand.
But the problem of phone-loss syndrome isn't a problem for me in a communication sense. No, no, I'm quite OK without my phonebook of three people. The problem lies within my host family.
You see, when a Georgian has a problem, everybody has a problem.
Families here are very close and always up in ya biznis...and everybody elses'. And as much as I like the close bonds and togetherness, I also hate them.
If my family knew my Liberty Bank card got eaten by an ATM in Armenia or I carelessly dropped my phone on a bus in another city, it would be an all-out embarrassing production of trying to help and would involve getting others involved that have no business getting involved (evident with anything the dumb American loses or does wrong).
I mistakenly told Goga about my problem after I inquired his help about unlocking my Blackberry from T-Mobile. Since then, he has questioned me extensively about finding it and even threatened to tell his mother about the loss.
The culture apparently hasn't really caught up with the once-thought-normal concept of having personal problems and/or realizing when a problem should be handled solo.
It was actually a topic of conversation I had with an English-speaking girl who works at the Zestafoni Police Dept. After failing to get anywhere with marshultka drivers and reporting my loss to TLG, I went to the hot fuzz to help track it down since they seemingly are never doing in this town.
I was referred to (nameless) since the five men in blue smoking cigarettes and watching Telemundo inside the main office weren't exactly making progress in explaining my steps on filing a report.
(Nameless), who carried a perky smile and easy-going demeanor, was more than willing to help me cut through red tape with the department, block the sim card at Geocell and talk about my frustration of independence.
"In this country you are always a child," she told me. "It doesn't matter how old you are. I am ready to be on my own. I want to move to England."
The fact that she was one of the only 20-somethings from this town I've met who speaks English knocked me back a few steps. The fact she was ready to be on her own in another country almost knocked me to the ground.
Bravo to you, young lady. Maybe the "Leave it to Beaver" mindset of Georgia isn't as strong as I thought.
Or maybe I'm losing more than just my telephone.