Saturday, April 03, 2010

Probably Will

It’s only a matter of time, I fear, before I finally break down and get a cell phone.

What was once a principled decision, then a lifestyle choice, and finally a self-defining crankiness, has become mostly a nuisance. It’s become more inconvenient than it’s worth—and almost more expensive—to not have a cell than to have one.

For one thing, you can hardly find a working payphone anywhere these days. And when you do, they tend to cost more than they’re worth (a dollar for four minutes of talking!) and to compound that, they typically can’t be called into, so when you do finally reach your party on the other end and they don’t pick up—as is the common habit these days—but rather phone back, you can hear them chatting way in the receiver but your own words are not broadcast back. Call then turn into a one-way monologue that sounds like: “Hello? Hello? Is anyone there? Okay, then. Bye.” And then they’re gone, without even the telltale dialtone to comfort or annoy you.

It’s especially tiresome when you’re out of town, as I am now; yesterday, for instance, I missed a lunch date and passed up an opportunity to get together with an old friend just because I couldn’t be reached. It’s not certain that either of these appointments would have happened had I an electronic leash, but at least they’d have been more likely.

I’m not looking forward to having another gadget in my life; and I don’t like the idea of contributing to the vast ocean of electronic detritus that’s drowning the planet; however, maybe I can get one made out of bamboo and recycled tires.

On the other hand, if I can just hold out for another couple of years, maybe I can get the implant in my head and fingers that will let me make phone calls without a device.

Or if you’ve got a better idea, text me.


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