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April 12, 2016
Ironically, due to the preponderance of cell phones these days, there are many people I no longer chat with … and here’s why:
Back in the days of land lines, when you called a friend or a relative, any member of that household might pick up the phone so you could enjoy a few moments of conversation with a niece, or a friend’s husband. Nowadays, using cell phones, you usually only get to speak to the owner of the cell phone (or, more typically, their voice mail) and, if you want to chat with the person’s children, or spouse, you have to dial them individually.
Since cell phones took over, I find that I call people much less often. This is in part because, for some inexplicable reason, I can’t remember cell phone numbers! I can recall the land line phone numbers of my friends from decades ago, but cannot store a cell phone number anywhere in my brain. Perhaps it is simply an aging issue, or perhaps it is a sub-conscious mental block. Also, I find the quality of cell phone calls is often poor … too much crackling, or fading in and out.
One of my other pet peeves about calling people on their cell phones is that you have no way of knowing where they are and what you might be interrupting when they pick up a call. At least with a land line, you know the person is safely at home and not running around a supermarket, sitting in a business meeting, or driving in their car. I find all those background activities unsettling. I suppose I want the person’s full attention … a rarity in this day and age of multi-tasking and short attention spans.
What’s also frustrating to someone like me who still owns and refers to the telephone book, is that you cannot look up people’s phone numbers anymore if they have given up their land lines. So, if you decide to take a road trip somewhere and remember, just as you’re pulling in to town, that a former colleague or old friend lives in the area you’re visiting, you can’t simply ring them up from your motel room and see if they’d like to meet for coffee.
And, of course, if you are travelling, forget the public call box! It is clearly a thing of the past. This can be exceedingly frustrating if you are abroad and don’t have all the right cards and codes for the cell phone you brought along.
As you have probably guessed, I don’t use a cell phone. I own an emergency phone for travelling and for visiting people who no longer have land lines but, beyond that, I have no use for one. I don’t want to hear my purse ringing while I’m standing in a bank queue, or taking a leisurely stroll around the park and I’ll bring a proper camera along if I think I might want to take pictures.
I’m glad my children were raised before the cell phones displaced the ‘house phone’ … they still got to answer it once in a while and enjoy an impromptu chat with their grandmothers.