That evil invention

For five years of my life, I had no phone.  I had just finished being a political activist, was tired of coming home to 53 messages.  If you wanted to reach me, you could drop by my messy apartment or call me at work. 

That was a  great time. I met my husband then. I came home each day to peace, tranquility…

Then I got a new job with a telecommunications firm.  My boss of course needed to be able to reach me.  My clients, if unhappy with the service, would call me at home at 3am or whenever their goose felt frittered.  I was their rep.  I remember carrying a pager because cell phones were still gigantic.  I would go out to dinner with my future husband and, on a bad night, get interrupted by pages from doctors or their secretaries who were upset that a certain operator had used the wrong tone of voice with their patient. It was my job to handle that–and they paid me well for it.

I got married, built up some debt.  We stayed married, built up more debt.  And then we had our first child…

Let’s face it, when you have kids, you have to stay connected.  So I put phones in every room. My husband got a cell phone for work.  My office was talking about giving me one, plus a laptop so I could work wherever I was—but I just couldn’t.  When we found a reason to fire the nanny, I quit my job.  To raise our child…

I wanted to create a more peaceful home.  A place without so many intrusions.  I couldn’t give up the phones, so we gave up the TV instead.  For years we had no television.  That was heaven.  We chatted in the evenings, went for walks in the moonlight…

Until my family decided that we needed to “watch the war.”  Maybe it was our civic duty to stay up on the news.  They gave us a television, just in time to watch 9/11.  We still tune-in for tv news and comedy. I guess the one tv we have is the size people put in most toddler’s bedrooms.  There are no tvs in our bedrooms, not a lot of room for TV dramas in my life. It’s annoying the way it changed our evenings, but at least the tv doesn’t ring.

I still resent the telephone in our living room, sometimes go weeks without checking messages.  My husband checks them sometimes.  He isn’t quite as anti-phone-ish as I am.  And a couple of years ago, I spent $10 on the simplest, cheapest cell phone I could find.  My kids can call me when we’re apart.

I hate the way people stop conversations to check their phones.  They text distant cell users instead of conversing with people in front of them. Today at lunch, I fell prey to that.  While chatting with a close friend, my cell buzzed.  It was my son.  I paused our conversation and answered, only to hear  my son’s anxiety over missing a phone call that might be important to me.  They hadn’t left a message. A phone call on top of a phone call had upset my teen and stopped my special lunch?  Someone had wanted to pass on some teensy tidbit of information that could have easily waited a few days.

Stop telling me I need to get an iPhone.  Don’t laugh when I buy minutes for my ten-dollar cell. (An hour will last me three months.)  I explained to my friend today at lunch that I don’t even text on it–wouldn’t know how. If you want to reach me, send an email or leave a note at my messy house. I’m looking at iPads because they DON’T include a phone.   Please only call if it’s urgent.

And God bless Alexander Graham Bell, but every time a phone rings, I curse him for that evil invention.


2 thoughts on “That evil invention”

  1. OK, this is very funny. I DO feel your pain, but I’m at the other end of it. Sometimes I remember back before I had a phone. In my head, it seems like things were more difficult because I didn’t have access to my calendar or couldn’t reach my kids. However, when we go on vacation, I leave my iPhone (yes, I have one) in the safe and it’s lovely. I guess I’m saying that I don’t know what is/was better. Here I am, for better or worse.

    But I will make a note (on my to-do list on my iPhone) NOT to answer a text or phone call if we ever chat in person again. 🙂

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