The Case Of The Disappearing Cell Phone Batteries

Until yesterday, this was “the case of the disappearing cell phone battery” but now we are even more puzzled and in even greater need of someone of Nancy Drew’s sleuthing abilities.

My husband is known for many things, but not for his new-fangled electronic gadget knowledge. A little over a week ago he brought his cell-phone to me and impatiently and petulantly asked why it wouldn’t turn on.

My first response was “duh, the battery is dead” so I plugged it in to his charger, but didn’t hear the cutely annoying ditty his phone always played when plugged in. And, there was no “charging” indicator.

Hmmm… I said to myself. (I say this a lot, but that’s not important right now.)

Drawing on my years of electronic gadget knowledge, I decided that we should try the time-honored “trick” of pulling the battery out and putting it back in again. But, being a physically mechanically challenged individual, I couldn’t get the cover off the battery.

Where brute force is required to remove something, no one tops my husband (once a Marine always a Marine) and he said, “Give that to me.” So, I did and he got the cover off. I watched him do it.

And then he said, “There’s no battery in here.” Of course, I thought he simply didn’t recognize the shape and form of modern day batteries, expecting to find a 9-volt in there.

But, when he held the phone up where I could see it better, I discovered to my amazement that he was right! There was no battery in the phone!

With the power of a flash of lightning, I immediately knew that the lack of a battery was why the phone was NOT working. I’m amazing that way.

So, I ask dearest hubby why he took the battery out. He assures me he did not remove the battery. Then… because we are both old and doddering fools with less than perfect eyesight and reflexes… we figure the battery must have popped out when he took the cover off.

We were sitting in my office (otherwise known as the cave with the internet connection) when this took place and I’m a bit embarrassed to note that said battery could have popped off and been hidden anywhere.

Yep, my “office” defines clutter, trash, disarray, chaos, confusion, disorder, mess, litter, hodgepodge, and general mess. Being rational people, we figured that any place with more than an inch of undisturbed dust was not a likely spot for the battery to have landed. Thus our search area was somewhat defined.

We looked behind and underneath furniture, inside crates, laundry baskets, and other containers of “stuff” and we didn’t find the battery. We did find a discarded phone with a battery of the same size fitting the same charger and got the phone working again.

Yet, we remained puzzled. We ruminated over the time lapsed since the last call from or to that phone and who might have had access to it during that time. We called the one person we thought might know of a new trend of stealing batteries from phones… and endured the derision of the common sense thinking that suggested they would simply steal the entire phone.

And, we carefully examined the list of pranksters we know. Oh, yes… there are people we know who would delight in seeing us puzzled, bemused, confused, bewildered, baffled, rattled, and addled.

The worst part of this was that my dear loving untrusting husband considered me the prime suspect in this case. Maybe it was not quite so often, but it seemed to me that he asked at least seven times a day if I was yet ready to tell him where the battery was.

I swore, upon pain of everlasting blisters on my left little toe, that I had nothing to do with the disappearance of his cell phone battery. Finally, I think he came to believe me.

The most logical explanation he could come up with otherwise was that one of us was sleep-walking and had, um… perhaps, accidentally removed the battery. Except that he obviously thought that since I like sleeping so much, it must have been me doing the sleep-walking.

Not a chance, I countered. If I really wanted to mess with him I’d have hidden his keys and glasses. He countered that was silly because he couldn’t find those anyway. I had to concede he had a good point.

So… we come to yesterday. Saturday mornings my hubby and his biker friends regularly gather for breakfast, gossip, and tall tales. I regularly skip this meeting preferring sleep.

On the way home from this meeting… Mr. Coordinated (aka dear hubby) drops his cell phone in a public restroom. Now, he swears he saw it fall… and that that back did not fall off. He states, for the record, that when he was through with his business he put the cell phone back in it’s holder and that the battery cover was not loose.

A very few minutes later while on the interstate, he tries to make a call. Nothing happens. The phone is deader than a door nail. Knowing himself not to be a virtuous battery charger, he plugs the phone into the car charger.

Uh Oh. No melodious response, no lights, no cute graphic of a battery charging. Being a cautious man, he pulls over before he takes the cover off to discover there is — again — no battery in his phone.

Obviously this is not a fluke, as there is no sign of good luck to be found in this mystery.

Upon finding that a replacement battery cost $48 (since we’d run out of superflous phone batteries), my darling decided to purchase a new phone complete with battery for $29.95.    

If the battery in this new phone stays where it’s supposed to be, I supposed we’ll have to conclude that the other (refurbished, mind you) phone was haunted in some way.

UPDATE: One of the batteries has appeared in the comments. This is truly amazing, folks.

5 thoughts on “The Case Of The Disappearing Cell Phone Batteries

  1. Weird. Examine chain of custody. Does your husband ever relinquish custody in public places, i.e. set the phone onto a restaurant table? Or on an office desk? Might someone be stealing the battery b/c: 1) the thief remains in the presence of your husband, and does not wish to become known to your husband via being present when the cellphone permanently disappears from your husband’s possession, and 2) it is so easy to pop off the top and take the battery and replace the top?

    Does a mammal with opposable thumbs have access to your house? Pet monkey? 8 year old grandchild?

    This is a real mystery. Like the first part of a Twilight Zone episode.

  2. Good questions. The closest to a mammal with opposable thumbs is a huge dog with dew claws and I’m pretty sure he’d have just eaten the whole phone. All the grandchildren are about a 1000 miles away.

    As for ease of getting the back off, this one wasn’t particularly easy. You had to push a tiny button in and then nudge the cover off in the opposite direction. But just because I didn’t find it easy to get off doesn’t necessarily mean it’s that difficult.

    As for chain of custody, he normally keeps the phone in a leather holder on his belt. Right now I can’t remember what he was wearing Saturday, so it may have been in his pants pocket. I’ve never seen him place his phone on a table or desk like you describe (something I do often!) so I don’t see that as too likely.

    Let’s just hope this doesn’t end like a typical Twilight Zone episode!

  3. Freedom! I’m living in the dimension between this one and the next. Your missing socks from the dryer think I am their king.

    Sure, the socks are getting a charge out of you now… but will you ever be able to get a charge out of them? Come back before it’s too late.

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