Saturday, December 23, 2006

Kicking & Screaming

Herself and Da Kid insist I finally break down and get a cell phone, and I've been kicking and screaming all the way. I don't want one. Except for a few rare instances (the line to the house came down in a storm once, and contractors have chopped through BIG underground cables several times, knocking out phone service not just for me but several thousand homes and businesses) I have never felt the need for one, either.

But what, they ask, would happen now that I'm alone so much if I should fall?

Yes, they actually asked me that question. In two months time it seems in their eyes I've become aged. Extremely infirm. Helpless! Actually, they didn't even wait that long.

My answer to that question was to mimic, "Help! I've fallen and can't get up!" In a more sensible manner, I then explained if I couldn't reach the telephone what makes them think I'd be able get to a cell phone, wherever the hell it was, much less remember what buttons to push to get the damned thing to work, if it was even charged!

That didn't go over too well.

What, they asked next, if my car broke down?

"The same thing I've always done. Hoof it to a phone and call Triple A."

But . . . but, what if they need to get in touch with me?

Call the house.

. . . but what if I'm not home when they call?

Duh! Leave a message on the answering machine?

I have never understood and never will the need to be constantly and instantaneously available to anyone and everyone, nor the apparent need to have anyone and everyone constantly and instantaneously available. Perhaps it's my too many years spent around phones that rang nonstop, that all had to be answered. I enjoyed the feeling each day when I walked out the door of no longer having to serve them, and that feeling only intensified (I'm retired now.) as the years passed.

But no matter where you go they're everywhere: people with their cells permanently glued to their heads. Schroeder and his security blanket? Or perhaps Pavlov's dogs. Instead of being trained to salivate at the sound of a bell, the modern reaction after a peculiar sound is to grab for your cell and yammer into it.

Except it might NOT have been yours going off, but someone else's close by. So after grabbing and staring at it, you beng explaining to who the hell knows who (Maybe your phone?) "It's not me!" Or is it disappointment I see that, "It's not me?"

Hubby had a cell phone because of work that I "inherited." With two months left on the contract and after Da Kid and Herself insisting that I had to have one, I decided to see just how useful one might actually be to me.

During the same two-month period in which I've made three outgoing calls on it, I have received four incoming ones, all voice messages:

1. Herself, but don't ask me why she called the cell rather than the house.

2. The cell provider Hubby had with information — now that the contract was due to expire — on a special savings.

3. See Number 2.

4. See Number 3.

Meanwhile, Da Kid and Herself have been foaming about the ("piece of crap") cell phones they have and their provider, the latter because for each, although their base charge is fairly reasonable, their lives have changed drastically since they signed their contracts almost two years ago.

But, their provider does not allow changes to existing contracts. The only recourse they've had was to sign a new, two-year one . . . with a company that doesn't even provide coverage where Da Kid now works.

Talk about more convincing arguments to avoid them, huh?

Except since Da Kid can't call me (or anyone else for that matter) on his cell phone when he's at work and he's not going to rack up long distance charges on his station's telephone, the telephone bill here since he started working there has been higher than it's ever been. Ever, because of long distance charges to Da Kid when he's at his one-man station.

They did their math. It's far cheaper for them to pay the penalty to get out of their existing contracts rather than continue paying the exorbitant charges they'll each incur for the last two months on them, and go with another company, a far more sensible one, that suits their needs.

Meanwhile, I did my own math.

Yes, folks. I finally found a good reason to have a cell phone. A ton of shared minutes between us that none of us will hardly ever use because mobile-to-mobile is free (and my portion of the monthly charge will be far less than the long distance charges I've been paying) and . . . no roaming charges for them. Da Kid even has reception at his station!

And, if their needs change, the company will modify the existing contract rather than requiring a completely new one.

Herself and Da Kid have their new phones. Fancy ones that do all kinds of stuff. Since all I want to do is talk on the sucker, I chose the most basic of phones available.

Later that night: "Mother? Why did you call me again?"

"Uh, technically I didn't. I'm still going through the operating instructions and doing stuff and this time I pushed a button and said, "CALL," and then just said your name . . . so I didn't call you. Technically, my cell phone called your cell phone. Do you know this thing takes pictures, too?"

In the background I overheard Herself moan, "Dear gawd, I knew this would happen. We've created a monster."


Blogger Norma said...

I feel like you do about cell phones. I'm always asking my husband what to do when it rings. Now that you've started, you'll probably soon not be able to live without it.

6:09 PM  
Blogger doyle said...

Norma: ...what to do when it rings.

Regain control of the car?

I had some running 'round to do the other day so I'm cruising along listening to talk radio when from nowhere (the inside my handbag, on the passenger seat) comes Patti LaBelle loudly singing,

Itchi Gitchi Ya Ya Da Da Da
Itchi Gitchi Ya Ya here
Mocha-choco-lata Ya Ya
Creole Lady Marmalade

Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir?
Voulez-vous coucher avec moi?
Voulez-vous couchez avec moi ce soir?
Voulez-vous coucher avec moi?
Mmm, Hmmm

Don't have to worry about ME talking on a cell phone while driving. I'm dangerous enough with the damned thing just going off!

5:08 PM  
Anonymous Amy said...

LOL....thanks for the amusing post!
I've always felt that it was degrading to have to pick up the phone whenever it rings. Most people would hurry over to pick up a call no matter what it is they happen to be in the middle of....showering, driving, cooking, whatever. Cell phones are a convenience I have to admit. However, I don't pick up when I don't feel like it. I could always check messages and call them back if the matter is urgent.

9:40 AM  

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