It’s hard being “old school” and carrying a cell phone with you wherever you go. First of all, that means anyone can find you at any time of the day or night and disturb your current state of peace. You’re sitting somewhere idyllic and meditating on nature and your doctor’s office calls with the results of your blood work and a lecture on getting more exercise, and now you’re thrown off your square. You might be saying don’t answer it, but some little voice in my head makes me do it. Turn it off, you say. When you turn it on all you get is voice mail messages asking you why your phone is off and cursing you for being so anti-social. You can’t win for losing.
I actually know people who refuse to get a cell phone. Pretty lame in 2013, however, these folks have made up their minds that they have a land line and if you want to reach them, call them at home. Pretty daring as well as rebellious. I sometimes wish I could take my phone and hurl it out the car window into oncoming tractor trailer traffic. It’s very tempting. Then I realize I would just have to buy another one, so I resist the temptation.
I might have been the last person I know to switch to a “smart phone.” May I say that a smart phone is only as smart as its user? So my “smart phone” is really a “dumb” phone because I use very little of the applications and features if I can help it. I have about 27 “accidental” pictures of body parts in motion and sideways pictures of my furniture that were attempts of trying to get away from the camera that just popped up out of nowhere. So don’t ask me to take your picture and send it to you. I’m just an idiot when it comes to figuring things out. I mean really…who can’t operate the camera on their smart phone? Duh.
Sometimes I ask my friend Sande to help me figure things out. His standard answer is “ go online, find your phone and model number and it will tell you how.” This is not unlike asking your mother when you were in grammar school, how to spell a word and she would say “look it up in the dictionary.” Well Mom, if I knew the spelling I WOULD look it up, but I don’t and that is why I’m asking YOU! Every once in awhile I’ll try and download an app and I always get the message “ download failed.” Why don’t I spend more time learning about my phone?Because it’s scary. And I hate failure. It is a reminder of my resistance to, and fear of, technology.
Aboard a flight to NY to see my family, the overhead prompts said to turn off your phone. Then it read turn on your phone in airplane mode. Then everyone but me pulled out their tablets, laptops, and all other devices and were happily streaming movies and news while I read the airline catalog of unusual and overpriced gifts. I tried to strain my eyes to see the movie on woman’s tablet next to me but she turned and gave me a look that said “mind your own business or get your own tablet.” I felt rejected.
In particular, I believe that all of these high tech gadgets are doing away with communication among people of all ages in our society. One night I had dinner at Clayton’s. Such a relaxing place just begging for communication over drinks and dynamite fare, and in walks a family of four. They were seated, and almost immediately the father, son and daughter took out their devices: Dad had his cell phone, son have a DS handheld game, and the daughter had a tablet. The mother had nothing. And I mean “nothing” in more ways than one. She was without techno-ware, without conversation, and she looked very unhappy. I really felt for her. It would have been like bringing a book to my mother’s table, where the four of us kids ate every night. Not that we communicated all that well. I can remember a mashed potato fight and a few screaming matches. Then my mother decided that we should learn vocabulary words at the dinner table. I kid you not. I can still remember every word, none of which I ever used in conversation or in writing, however, we were all engaged in the game and we all have that memory, funny and annoying as it was at the time.
I guess why I really hate my phone is because it has made the world a much smaller place, easy to reach the opposite ends of the earth and hold them hostage. Where’s the phone etiquette? Like don’t call during the dinner hour, do not call after 9 pm or before 9 am. Well, that is contrary to successful business, you might say. But I feel that cell phones and their users ought to follow some basic rules. “Why didn’t you answer the phone?” I was vacuuming and could not hear the phone. “Why did you turn your phone off?” Because I’m sick and tired of hearing from you every hour and I needed a break!” What about the ones who leave half hour voice mail messages? Or send you multiple and lengthy texts? This isn’t saving you time, it’s making your work harder. I prefer texting and emailing in brief form. I don’t always have to hear your voice to give you a heads-up and visa versa.
I guess what annoys me the most is the fact that most of the population carries cell phones, and are on them all the time. They interrupt conversations to answer their phones, have to bring them into restaurants, funerals, children’s plays, and just about everywhere. Like church. Ever get that “ God is gonna strike you dead” look when your phone goes off in church? The worst! One thing is for sure, DO NOT answer your phone during sex. It might be the last sex you have with that person. And finally, there was a time, many years ago, when tennis players suffered with “tennis elbow,” a painful involvement of tendons and muscles that was debilitating. Our generation and the ones after us will all suffer from “cell phone elbow” from bending your arm in that position so often that your elbow will be in constant pain. I know it because I have it!