Nearly two months have passed since Peter took a five-hour walk away from home. That’s eight weeks of frustration for both of us, him because I had to follow along when he walked Nobby, and me because I had to follow along when he walked Nobby. I’d learned the hard way that I couldn’t let him go by himself any longer.
It was mid-July before I decided on and ordered Peter’s PAL (Protect and Locate) device sold under the umbrella of International Project Lifesaver. Then, several more weeks passed and multiple shipping hiccups occurred before it arrived, just hours before we left for a ten day visit to Carolynn and Bill. Not that I had any warped ideas that I could set it up myself!
Leslie and Martin applied all their considerable technological know-how and stick-to-itiveness to get it working while we were gone. Even for them it was not easy — “You really could not have done it, Mom” Leslie said — but now, at last, Peter is “free” again.
Happily, and completely unexpectedly, he didn’t object to the clunky-looking “watch.” Yes, it is a digital watch, but more importantly, it’s a tracker too.
“With this,” I told him, “you’ll be be able to walk Nobby by yourself. Without it, you’ll be stuck with me going along every time.” With no hesitation he chose his new PAL over me tagging along. No doubt about where I am on the totem pole!
He had a lot of questions, but then he would. Tucked inside his blurring brain there is still DNA with “engineer” written on it. “How far can I walk?” was his first question.
“Not as far as you walked the last time you walked alone,” I said, my left eyebrow on high alert. His slight nod told me he remembers, if foggily, that he walked a long way the wrong way in hot sun. Rightly or wrongly, I continue to force him to remember what he’d like to forget.
His second question was, “Will it tell me when I’ve gone too far?”
The short answer was, No. Later, it occurred to me that I should have said, If you’d ever agreed to using a cell phone, then I could call you when the tracker shows you’ve gone too far, or you could call me for help. But that would’ve been thirty-eight wasted words.
Each time he repeated his two questions, I reminded, “All you have to do is walk. I have to be ‘tuned in’ for a possible alert, check my phone for texts, the computer for a map, and be ready to jump in the car to pick you up.”
He shook his head. “How does ‘it’ know?”
“Smoke and mirrors and a satellite in the sky,” I said.
He shook his head again. So many technological advances have taken place since the last time he was curious enough show interest.
It took all Leslie’s considerable teaching skills to pound the multiple steps into my head. She already knew I had little capacity to absorb any more high-tech stuff. I wouldn’t be surprised if she had a lesson plan labeled, “Teaching Mom.”
Header: Nobby anxiously watches for his master.