Friday, February 20, 2009

Phone Envy

Like PITA, my two year contract is up on my cell phone. Two years ago, I was talked into writing my name into cement that I would pay through the nose monthly to be able for anyone to reach me anytime: in the bathroom at StuffMart, as I hurtle down the highway, if I am visiting family in another state. There are both positives and negatives to being so accessible.

What did we do before cell phones, I sometimes wonder, yet live I did in such times. In fact, I don't believe I had a cell until I was well into my thirties. My kids have never known life without computers or cell phones. Unlike me, they don't ponder the magic of signals that in seconds transmit around the country looking for me and on finding me, make my phone ring. They've never had to have long conversations while attached to a corded phone. With instant email, they've not had to wait for weeks to correspond with someone in another far off place, or had to search through microfilm at the library to find some fact for a research paper. Advantages?

Yes, of course, there are. Yet, today, it is hard to "get away", to stand on an overlook surveying nature and to be alone with that. Some peace is lost in being so accessible. Yet, I will renew (or get a new) contract for phone service mainly as I want to be available to my kids at all times should there be an emergency, such as they really, really need new socks while I am at StuffMart and could I pick some up?

After forgetting two appointments yesterday, dh says I need a Dingleberry where I can store all my calendars and reminders. More and more of my acquaintances have iPhones and iTouches and whole computers stuffed into little tiny devices in their pockets. The monthly service cost puts me off, and while I admire them as others hold the devices for me to see like they were photographs of their newest puppy or grandchild, I am stingy enough to not want to pay the hefty monthly fees associated with them. Will it really keep me up to date, in touch? Or, does our technology make us more isolated than ever?


debra said...

I think that technology is a double edged sword: it provides incredible opportunities, it enabled my #2 daughter to be able to call when someone hit her on the freeway (she was ok); and it is like being tethered to a leash.

Immediate gratification is not all it is cracked up to be, I think.

Kristina said...

Ooh, I lust after the iPhone. But, I'm realistic. I didn't get a cell phone until I was hugely pregnant with my 2nd child and my husband was out of town and we needed some way to contact him. When he came back, the cell phone became mine. It was forced on me. Now, I don't have a home phone. ;) And, I didn't get internet until Gary had to have it for school. Again, I wouldn't want to be without it.

But, I can say that I won't have an iPhone until Gary needs it for work. And, since his job provides him with a Blackberry and he'll be with that job for a long time....

pita-woman said...

Ah, you've heard my rants. Basic cell phones are all I want. My razor phone has an address book and a date calender in it as well, so that may be all you need to keep track of your appointments.
As for email & internet, I make do just fine using it during work hours when things are slow. I can't think of a single reason to have internet/email with me 24/7.
We do have the option to turn off our cell phones (**gasp**) if we don't want to be bothered. But how often do we really do that?

pita-woman said...

ps again,
I don't know what cell company you use, but assuming others are like AT&T, just because your contract is up, doesn't mean you have to renew. As long as your phone still works, you can just keep plugging along same as always. We actually kept their service for 15 months after our contract expired, & would probably still be plugging along status quo had I not killed my phone.

Cloudia said...

Great post.
20 years ago if you called someone and asked "Where are you?" they'd know you were losing it. I overhear the same thing every day from people on cellphones: "I'm in Waikiki!"
I think they should hang up and vacation.

Passage of a Woman said...

Great post. My children have always lived in the techy digital age; can't imagine life without cells phones, ipods, laptops, video games and the like. Like others have said, they have their plusses and minuses.

I'm glad to have known the former times when we used corded telephones, typewriters, and 3-channel black-and-white analog televisions. Perhaps we can appreciate, or bemoan, these technological advances more.

We just got new cells and a new contract, though we did not have to do either. But the phones are cheaper or free with a new contract. There are some really good plans right now.

We use the Verizon "share-talk family plan" since we can make cell-to-cell calls anytime free, and my husband is on the road most of the time. Now that they have merged with AllTell, we now have friends and family as well, which means we were able to add 10 additional numbers, cell or land line, with free calls 24/7 that do not use up our minutes. Saves us a bundle.

I wanted a Blackberry, and I particulary wanted a qwerty keyboard since I am now doing much more texting than I have ever done in the past, but I did not want to pay for the monthly service for the blackberry, and I settled for a regular old (new) cell phone with just the normal text/picture/calendar/calulator features. Suits me fine, as I don't use it all that much.

Good luck!

Camflock said...

I too have phone envy, but I am so cheap. I still wince when I pay for the two basic cell phone packages that our family uses now.

When we were kids our parents didn't have cable, cell phones or the internet to pay for. These "extras" cost an additional $100-$200 easily each month.

I wonder if our collective "envy" over "extras" has anything to do with our current economic situation.


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