Monday, September 21, 2009

CELLPHONE-FREE! (at least, until 2009)

I resisted it. I refused it. I avoided it. I announced to anyone who would listen that I would not bet getting a cellphone.

Some people can't understand why I didn't ever want one.

Oh my gosh, where do I start...

It's one more thing to have to charge, one more thing to worry about the battery going dead.

It's one more thing to obsessively check. Check the home phone messages. Check the email. Check the blogs. Check the cellphone - which has all that stuff on it and then you can check all that at once, and of course, once you're done checking you have to start all over again.

I didn't want to be reachable. I know that sounds terrible, but it's true! I had my life set up pretty simple. "I'm either at home, at the grocery store, or at Susan's riding, so just leave me a message and I'll deal with it when I get home." If I had a phone, I reckoned, I'd be getting calls from the school all the time like, "Can you bring me my lunch? I forgot it." Or "I need $25 for a new gym uniform." And then there's always "I wanna go to Buddy's house. Pick me up for supper." I really thought it could all wait.

Cellphones promote laziness. Why plan anything if you can just throw it together at the last minute?

And then, it promotes anxiety. Everything is last minute. Everything can be changed with one phone call, requiring five more phone calls, and the complications get stupid.

Most of all, I just didn't want to be a cellphone slave. You know what I mean. Maybe you are one. It boops, it beeps, it rings, it plays ridiculous little songs, and you gotta drop everything to get it. It will demand your attention. You have to pay attention to it.

I'd get irritated by my husband's iPhone, which I have dubbed the iGadget because it's not just a phone. Actually I call it the Plastic Girlfriend. He sneaks it when I'm not looking because he knows it makes me insane. Yes I am jealous of an electronic device. He reads the news on it in bed and when he's eating his breakfast. It sits beside his bed to wake him up in the morning. It interrupts our conversations and dictates when he leaves for work. He can't make a move without it. It owns him.


Here I am, living in between two houses, and needing a phone number of my own. It's not worth getting another landline for a temporary situation. It became clearer daily that I would have to cave in and get a cellphone.

What really fixed it was this new iPhone thing. The NEW one is all powerful and omnipotent and has more bells and whistles than the "old" one. He bought the new one. I got his old one.

I admit, this is a pretty marvelous machine. It's quite amazing. It's just this little heavy plastic slab that suddenly comes to colourful life and does all kinds of things. It's the first cellphone EVER that I used and thought maybe, just maybe, I could figure out how to use it. I just touch it and it does what it's supposed to do. (Usually.) It isn't covered with complicated buttons. It has one big button at the bottom. I can do this. Yes, even a techno-moron like me can do this.

I'm kind of not happy about this because being cellphone-free made me a little different, just a rare breed of holdout who doesn't need these trappings of modern life.


My phone is set to sound like an old rotary phone. It sounds like my childhood.

It's got really nice colours. It looks good.

when it rings, it always tells me who it is, in big easy to read letters.

When it rings, it's usually my husband.

So maybe it's not so bad.

But don't be shocked if I park it on the little table in the hall upstairs and avoid looking at it until I'm done my work for the day...


Sydney said...

You know you can have your cell phone receive your landline phone calls. So like someone calls you at your home phone you can answer it on your cell phone. My friend does that. No ones gotta know her cell number.

Astaryth said...

We don't have a 'landline', but have a cellphone instead. I mostly treat the cellphone as a house phone. If I'm outside w/horses, or watering plants, etc... phone is sitting in the house. Leave a message!

The only exception is when I go somewhere in the truck. It's nice to have a phone with me just in case something happens.

JKB said...

YAY for IPHONES! You've come over to the dark side, m'darlin'! Welcome!

Just wait until you find all the games and stuff you can put on that thing. AND TWITTER. And all your blogs! (try the app BYLINES) It's wonderful, a tiny computer that has everything JUST THE WAY YOU LIKE IT.

YOU. And you are great! :-)

pseudosu said...

I'm not a celly girl either for many of the same reasons you resisted. I'm not waiting for an organ transplant, so whatever it is can wait. I hate talking on the phone in general-- Why would i want to be reachable at all hours of the day?

The iphones do look cool if you need one though. Sometimes having a techie hubs pays off huh? ;)

jules said...

The trick to having a cellphone is to not give anyone your number. That way it is your slave, not you it's. And the way Astaryth uses it. Any phone should be a convenience to YOU, not to everyone who wants to ring you up.

marsh to the fore said...

Welcome to insanity although, from what I hear and read (from your comments here) you can control it.

Not that I want you to think I don't love my iPhone. I adore it!

But people call you who you don't want to have call you when you're doing something important--like writing. Of course, land lines do that too but you can leave a land line behind but you never, never leave your cellphone behind.

It rings and you can't hear it, which may be a good thing or not.

What I want to know is how do you make it ring like an old rotary phone? I've got to check that! Love it!

Coffeypot said...

I'm and iPhone junkie. How did I get through like without this thing? I have unlimited texting and nationwide calling so there are never any long distance charges. I am linked to my computer so I can get and send emails while away. I can get some of my tweets and I am thinking about adding my Face Book site. And I don’t need a phone to feel different. I AM DIFFERENT. It’s just that the phone keeps me connected to the NORMAL people.

mugwump said...

We (sibs and I) got my 79-year-old mother a cell phone. We wanted her to be able to reach us if she had a problem in her car.
She thanked us and charged it and kept it on her kitchen counter.
One day she called me and asked me to come to her house and help her get her smoke alarm to quit beeping.
It had been driving her nuts for two days.We completely dismantled the smoke alarm (still beeping with no battery).
When we had about decided the alarm was haunted we realized it was her cell phone.
My mother very carefully took the phone and placed it in the glove box of her car.
Where it remains, quite dead, to this day.

Heidi Willis said...

you are the smartest person I've ever met. How can you always turn conventional wisdom on it's head and make it look idiotic? I idolize you.

And I completely understand the plastic mistress. I have a cell phone that only makes calls. Nothing else. But my hubs is on his blackberry 24/7. Drives me nuts.

I keep telling him it's not like his job is life or death or anything - I mean, he's not a doctor or something.

Then he reminds me he works in national security and I have to agree a teensy bit. But only because I really like not being bombed.

RuckusButt said...

Love this post! I used to "brag" about not having a cell phone, I loved not having to deal with all the things you mentioned. Then I got rear-ended last winter. It was not serious, but enough to make me realize I wanted one in case of emergency.

Fast forward to June, I broke my arm, husband was out of town, and I really wanted to talk to my mom before entering emerg. I really appreciated that phone!

The key is not to get too hooked --might be hard with an iphone though!

Whywudyabreedit said...

Gone are the days of my childhood when we didn't even have answering machines. If someone called while you were away you were not beholden to return the call. They had to try again later to see if they might catch you at home.

I agree, people have become slaves to their phones, especially the kids with all of the texting. Many people have become totally interruptible almost 24-7. No thanks!

I am in support of you leaving it on the hall table and getting to it when you get to it! Good luck with that by the way... I carry mine, but when the ringer is off I may go hours without noticing that I have received a call.