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It’s ten o’clock: Do you know where your roommate is?

By Kendall GibsonColumnist

A mistake that happened on Tuesday morning made me realize the importance of a network of contacts and the finicky nature of cell phones.

A cardiology clinic mistakenly dialed my number twice during class, and when I called them back, it went to a machine. I immediately feared that something had gone wrong, and thus began thirty minutes of frantically checking that my friends and family were okay.

They were, but that makes the experience no less harrowing.

Failing to reach them, I came to realize that when you text or dial someone, you’re really just calling their phone. They have to notice that you’re calling, otherwise your call succeeds only in making something beep and buzz.

People are not always available or capable of answering their cell phones; therefore, you should have at least one backup number for every important person in your life.

A situation could arise where you need to speak with someone urgently, so if you can’t reach that person by phone, simply having the number of his or her neighbor could be a saving grace.

They are outdated now, since everyone has a cellphone, but many houses today still have a notebook of numbers next to a landline. If your mother was like mine, she filled this notebook to the brim, mostly with obscure numbers that she could never possibly need. Her thinking was that if I had been kidnapped, and the police suspected the neighbor’s gardener’s brother, my mother would have been able to ring him up and find me.

Implement this today. It seems paranoid, but without contingencies for contacting the people you care about, you can easily lose touch with them in an emergency.

You should, for example, have other means of contacting your roommate in the case that you are concerned by his or her extended absence.

Conversely, you should proactively give people your phone number. It might end up working well for you socially, but more importantly, it can help in an emergency if you are a part of a large network of contacts.

Living far from home hurts your parents, so give them the peace of mind of knowing how to contact you. Provide your family with a few means of contacting you in the case that you are not able to answer your primary phone.

Having a mutual contingency contract is good in circumstances of need, but a day-to-day diligence in checking your phone will serve as an even greater benefit to you and others.

Get in the van: No fame, no phone, no clue

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