Monday, April 02, 2007

OK, OK, Fine.

I'd always been a bit proud that we were not into the cell phone thing. We had an old phone - ONE phone - (doesn't flip open or take pictures or do anything but send and receive calls), and we never turned it on. It was only for road emergencies, but most of the time we forgot to take it on trips anyway. No one had our number.

So many people are so attached to cell phones that I think their skin has bonded to the phone. My students walk into class talking on cells, then get immediately back on them at break, and then get immediately back on them after class (some use them to "text" during class and think I do not know what is going on!). That kind of dependency on constant connectedness is a bit . . . um . . . disturbing.

My family has been out playing frisbee at the park and had a person immersed in a cell phone conversation walk right into the path of the frisbee without being at all aware of their surroundings or the fact that they were in danger of being smacked in the head.

Last time I went to a movie in a theater, the person directly in front of me spent almost the entire time "texting." I wonder if she had any idea how incredibly bright a small cell phone screen is in a dark theater and how many people were annoyed at the distraction. I wonder if she cared. I also wonder why she paid the expensive cost of a movie ticket to see a movie and then "texted" for two hours instead of watching it.

(If you wonder why I didn't say anything it's because last time I was at a theater and someone's cell phone rang and someone asked them to turn it off a fight nearly broke out as the person with the cell phone began yelling obscenities at the person who asked them to turn off the ringer. I figured dealing with a little distracting brightness was better than dealing with a fight. It seems people get really feisty about their right to use their cell phone whenever and however they want.)

I realize cell phones can be useful, but I had only ever found them to be annoying.

The human race actually made it to the late 20th century without cell phones, and I've just been a bit put off by how dependent people have become on them and have not wanted to be part of that.

Well, as of today I am crying, "Uncle."

I will now be carrying a cell phone with me everywhere and insisting my husband do the same (although we still are not going to have them turned on).

This decision was triggered by two events. Earlier this year my husband had a mini-stroke. Thankfully it happened at home before he was in the car driving the kids to school, but it could just as easily have happened while he was on the road. Today my vehicle broke down as I was on my way home from class and heading to my son's school to pick him up. I was not in the nicest section of town (but thankfully had just gotten off the highway and was not stuck in the median - which in California is not a broad grassy area!). I needed to get help in the form of a tow truck. I needed to let family members know where I was, and I needed to arrange for my son to be picked up (thank you B for doing that!).

Given my resistance to cell phone culture, it is amazing I had mine with me and that it was charged up! I was very thankful when I reached into the pocket of my backpack where I thought it might be to discover it was, in fact, there!

OK, OK, fine. I will make sure to have a cell phone with me from now on, but don't worry, the ringer will be off at all times, and I won't be "texting" anyone while in a movie theater.


Tony said...

It is a slippery slop that you are stepping onto...Watch out or you will soon be "one of them"!

Heidi said...

I know - I know - it's why it's been so hard, but when it came down to a choice between the slippery slope and the oleander median . . .

I guess I'll just have to maintain good traction!