Saturday, February 28, 2015

“Whadda Ya Mean You Don't Use A Cell Phone?”

If you hang out in the Korner, you know that I very recently started writing a column for my local newspaper.

If this is the first time you're hearing about my new gig, catch up, click HERE.

This is my second article for The Laker.  Enjoy!

I'll just be over here in the Korner, doing my happy dance!

Give me your number, and I'll text you.”

It's a phrase heard every day. It's become part of our 'modern language'.

The cell phone is the primary source of communication, information and entertainment for many people. If not for calling, they're used for texting, browsing the internet, sending email, taking pictures, video, playing games, and all kinds of additional features that the phone is equipped with, and most of us never attempt to use.

As a society, we tend to complain how today's kids are 'always on those phones!'.

But what isn't discussed (as much), is that there seems to be just as many adults who have their faces in a phone, as well.

You see them in a restaurant, store, coffee shop, gas station, almost everywhere. You can look around in any establishment and chances are you'll see someone on their phone.

People will walk and talk down the street.

Or worse, you'll catch people in traffic, hand to their ear talking or glancing down to finish that forbidden text message.

Because we all know it's illegal to text and drive.

And while I think they are essential in an emergency situation, and definitely a lifestyle convenience, I think they take away from our personal interaction and communication, and aren't an absolute necessity.

I'm not a big fan of cell phones. There. I've said it.

I was a late bloomer. Most everyone I knew had a cell phone before I did. I just didn't see the need, and as a single parent, didn't want the extra expense, until I was stuck on the highway in storm traffic one day, and couldn't reach the daycare.

I got a phone the next day.

I used my cell(s) for seven years. Mainly for texting, but also calling, games and pictures. I never really used any of the other features and I didn't browse the internet unless I could connect to wifi, because I didn't enable a data plan.

Eventually, one day, I put the phone down, and didn't use it anymore. And today is the one year anniversary of when I sent my last text message, and made my last call.

It wasn't really intentional. It just happened.

I didn't renew the 'pay as you go' plan when it ran out, which is the beauty of no contracts.

I simply decided one day that I was done. The always growing expense wasn't worth the convenience and entertainment. For me.

Both my teenagers have cell phones. They pay for their own minutes. They can always reach me when they need me.

Unless I'm out. And if I'm out. I'm out. You'll get me when I'm back. If it's an emergency, my kids always know where I'll be and would call the business itself.

Everyone else? Call my house, leave me a message, I'll get back to you, old school.

Has it been an inconvenience? Not very often.

There was really only one incident in the past year, where I could have used a cell phone to clarify where I was meeting someone. It would have saved 20 minutes of sitting at the wrong entrance.

But I don't think one major incident of inconvenience in a whole year is that bad.

No, my kids can't track me down at the grocery store to let me know we need milk, or that they want ice cream. But that's OK. The milk will have to wait until the next day, and they don't need the ice cream anyway.

Has it been liberating? Absolutely!

It's never a distraction while driving, I'm never interrupted during a conversation or a meal, I don't have to worry about forgetting to turn it off at public events and become, 'that person', and I don't always feel the constant pressure to get back to someone immediately.

Not everything has to be instant.

I understand that some people would rather not be technologically disconnected from their families this way, especially in case of an emergency. I get that.

I also understand that some may see it as not being a very responsible parent, to not be constantly available every single minute.

To those people, I simply ask them to think back to their own parents. Were they irresponsible people only because they didn't carry a cell phone on them at all times? I know mine were great parents, and neither carried a cell phone until I had children of my own.

And was I an irresponsible mother prior to 2006, when I got my first flip phone? Absolutely not. I believe I did a great job caring for my kids to that point.

Do I still carry the phone with me, to play games and take pictures? Sometimes!

Why not play Trivia Crack or Angry Birds (yes, I play Angry Birds), while waiting for the boy to get his hair cut, or what if I happen to catch that perfect shot, without a camera?

It can still be a free convenience, if you own your phone.

And most importantly, I want to have it for emergency purposes. It may not be active, but I can always dial 9-1-1 if I need to.

That, I think, at the least is responsible.

I get all kinds of reactions from people. Everything from surprise, to envy, to somewhat disapproval.

Whadda ya mean you don't use a cell phone?” That's the most common statement for me, that immediately follows, “Give me your number, and I'll text you.

I've gotten used to answering that question. Just like I've gotten used to going without the phone.

It can be done. It's not that hard. You just put it down, and don't pick it up again.


Go ahead. Try it. Liberate yourself. Even if only for a little while.

Unless, of course, you only need one more category to win that game of Trivia Crack, then go ahead and finish the game first.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I share a cell phone with my husband who never, ever, turns it on. We use it when we visit our children out of state and otherwise it stays in the glove compartment of the car. I do not care for people calling me and as you said, it is an expense I don't need. I am not in a hurry, and people can leave messages on the land line. I return the call when I can. Life is simpler and quieter and I like it that way. I do have on-star in the car for emergencies.