Peregrina's Journey
Peter and Margie Benziger
Sat 29 Jul 2017 18:02

 You know you’re getting old when you stoop down to tie your shoe and wonder what else you can do while you’re down there.  

                George Burns

I am not quite that bad but the years have been romping along with the speed of the Lone Ranger’s horse, Silver. This is actually a test because, if you don’t remember the Lone Ranger TV show, you are younger than I am.  Anyway…The Lone Ranger wore a black mask, shot silver bullets and galloped his trusted horse, Silver, throughout the Wild West, righting all the wrongs of the evil ones.

 I never understood why he was called the Lone Ranger because he was always accompanied by his Indian sidekick, Tonto. Tonto spoke very little but often looked off into the distance with wise and discerning eyes while pointing his finger.  Tonto probably called the Lone Ranger “Kimosabee” because it would be a bit demeaning to call your best friend, who was never more than a horse length away, “Lone Ranger”.

You would never see the Lone Ranger or Tonto talking on their phones. Life was simpler back then and they did not have to remember their phone number.

Another person who never used a cell phone was my father.  As a child, he had a very unique way of communicating his whereabouts.  Here’s an example…

My dad’s side of the family comes from Switzerland and he raced a Star sailboat called “Swiss Miss."

There were no cell phones back then so my dad took a homing pigeon with him sailing. When the racing was over and they were headed back to port, my dad would release the pigeon with a note to my grandmother telling her what time he would be home for dinner.

But nowadays, I DO need a phone and I should be able to remember my phone number (and Margie’s number) but I can’t.

This conundrum started January 5, 2010 when we threw off the dock lines and sailed Peregrina out into the Atlantic side-by-side.


 At that time, our two US phone numbers became history.

Prior to leaving, we had been told to get unlocked phones. Margie and I bought cheap, simple portable phones. We did not get Smart phones until many years later when our daughter, out of pity, bequeathed her aging IPhone 4 to us.

Our first real stop was Panama. In Panama, we went to the Movistar phone company and got two Sim cards and two new phone numbers. I actually was able to memorize these since they were the first new numbers we had in over a decade!

From Pamama forward things went downhill. The first year we crossed the Pacific and visited about 8 countries, each with a separate cell company which required new Sim cards and new phone numbers. Then, we left Peregrina in Australia and came home to the USA for Christmas which required two new US phone numbers.

This continued on for 7 years with new phone numbers in most countries and 7 sets of two new phone numbers in the USA. We visited 37 countries. In about half this number of countries we got two Sim cards so that both Margie and I both had a phone.  So that is 37 x 1.5 = 55.5 phone numbers. Add in the 7 trips to the USA, with two numbers each, (2x7=14) and the total is 55.5 + 14 = 69.5 phone numbers before arriving in Mexico.

But 2016 held great promise! We returned from Mexico to the USA for Christmas and UREKA, we found a new and improved phone plan!

In the USA Verizon store, we mentioned that we would be in the USA for a few months, return to the Mexico for a few months, then, take a quick trip to California to see our new granddaughter who was baking in her mommy’s oven. The salesmen said “you are in luck!”  Our new supercalifragilisticexpialidocious plan will cover you in both Mexico and the USA. You can even use the hotspot (for a few shekels more of course) to run your laptop computer.

We smiled broadly and handed over our credit card!

All went well, for the first few months in Mexico. Our USA friends could dial our USA number and it would ring right through. Our computer galloped like Silver along the internet via our phone hotspot. Everything was hunky dory with our communication world.

Then we received word that we were being dropped by Verizon. It took a while to find out why. We were convicted, without a trial, of “excessive international roaming.” (Hold your hands over your ears and shriek “Agggghhhh”) We were told it is clearly stated in the 97 page “term of agreement” which is written with size 8 fonts in grayscale.

So, Verizon dropped us and we lost our USA phone numbers. We even have to wait about six months until we have been cleansed of our sins before we can re-enroll for a domestic Verizon program!

Remember what this article is all about?  When I scrolled back to the first paragraph I did!  It is about why I can’t remember our phone numbers.  Well, we’re at 70 numbers and counting so…I hope, by now, you’ll understand and give me some slack.

All the best.


PS. The lowlife, scumbag who suggested that my memory is failing because I am getting old is a scurrilous liar. Last week, I knew his name but I can’t recall it just now.