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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Telephonic Disobedience

It’s pathetic how easily I’ve been trained.

I lived without a cell phone until I was well into my adulthood. Frighteningly, I was unaware of how much I needed to call home and see if we needed bread, let my friends know I was standing in line, or use it to convince potential muggers that I was on the line with someone massive who was inexplicably close enough to retaliate on my behalf should anything untoward happen.

I say all of this, of course, while acknowledging that the day before I bought my first cell phone I had spent three hours on an off-ramp in rush hour traffic with a dead car, frantically wondering if it would be better to just go ahead and pee my pants or if I should continue to “hold it” until I died of undignified causes.

For those of you playing along at home, I held it.

I was self-righteously puckered about that first phone. What? Me? Use a mobile phone to tell someone I’ll be late? Me? Tap into the latest in technology to ask “I dunno – what are YOU doing?” Me? Make a phone call while walking down the street just to ask someone “Who was that guy in The Big Lebowski? You know. The one the big guy kept telling to shut up?”

Blamelessly indignant, that’s me.

Kept that up for about three days.

Slowly, I fell into the cell phone abyss.

Will I be five minutes late? Better call!

Do we or do we not have Dijon mustard at home? I’ll call.

Willie’s in the backyard but it’s all the way down the steps and out a door? Maybe I’ll just call…

I exaggerate only the teensiest of bits.

Of course I’m better now. I’m back to using it as a regular phone, which means there are times when I don’t even answer it.

There’s a deliciousness to being incommunicado.

What do you mean, where am I? I’m out.

And yet I remain under the cell phone’s thumb.

It’s the buzzer, you see. I hear it, nestled deep in my desk, where it lies in its own pocket deep in my purse. I’ve set it to “vibrate”; and I can ignore it all I want, but it’s saving up those calls, letting me know how many I’ve missed, humming in that quiet, insidious way it has: Pick me up. Pick me up.

Will I have to set it to "silent"?

As I said: Pathetic.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post, wherein Pearl continues to gripe about modern conveniences. Hey! People at a party taking pictures of themselves at a party: Look at what a good time we’re having!

40 comments:

wozzel said...

I've gone from being glued to my phone and checking it every 5 minutes to see if someone has sent me a text or tried to call ---> to keeping it on silent 98% of the time and missing most calls and responding to messages hours later.

A friend said the other day "i cant call you in an emergency because you're phone is always on silent" and i responded "yip - call someone els"

ps - love your blog :)

Becky C. said...

Oh my. There's never been a bigger divide between our generation and the young'uns than the ubiquitous cell phone. I have one, of course, but still haven't bothered to figger out how to stretch out a free arm to snap photos of myself at enviable locations. Not that I ever go anywhere anyway.

MJenks said...

My uncle does the equivalent of the back-yard call. When he comes to pick my dad up for something, he pulls into the driveway and calls the house, perhaps 20 feet away. But, it's cold outside and somethingsomething.

This is an improvement over him pulling into the driveway and laying on the horn. I will give him that.

Grant said...

I'm still waiting for telepathy before I invest in any new-fangled technology.

Rezden said...

I hate cell phones. I honestly want to get rid of mine and have one for emergencies such as the car breaking down. My fiance would kill me though if I got rid of it. Oh well.

Lisa said...

Our phones were out for a while yesterday. Such quiet, such peace...

Pearl said...

It's definitely a generational thing! I know people in their 20s who cannot leave the house without carrying a phone and will turn around to go back for it, whereas I look forward to being by myself.

I wonder what is wrong with us that we are becoming more and more uneasy with silence?

Willoughby said...

I never leave the house without my phone, but that's only because it has been useful in several minor emergencies. I'm glad to have it, but I only make/receive a few calls every day. I guess I'm just not a big phone-talker and I don't even know how to text (don't tell anyone because this embarrasses my teenage son).

Eva Gallant said...

I find cell phones both a wonderful convenience and a horrible bother!

Elizabeth said...

I am currently teetering on the edge of another technological cliff. I have regular, plain old, makes calls cell phone but I am beginning to covet my boyfriend's iphone. Do I NEED to be able to access the internet while I'm in line at the grocery store? No. Do I WANT to? um... maybe?

Kay Dennison said...

My cell doesn't own me. I own it. I use it purely as needed. What I use it most for is the free long distance since I have a lot of out-of town friends and family. I don't text; I don't Twitter. It mostly exists for emergencies.

Symdaddy said...

We have all been in that mobile-phone-daze and called folks up with flimsy excuses just so that they'll know that we have a mobile phone (no, we don't call them cell phones here).

Of course, when I say "we", I do mean other people. The 'daddy' wouldn't stoop so low as to call someone and say "I'm just about to ring your door bell!"

I wouldn't. No!

Well ...

... once.

But it was years ago and mobile phones had just been reduced to the size and weight of a common house brick.

Jeez!

Persecute me,why don't ya!

Pearl said...

I think the real problem started when I got rid of the landline...

Sweet Cheeks said...

OK...I admit it. Sometimes I call the kids on their cell phones to yell at them...even when they're in the next room.

Pathetic.
=]

Irisheyes said...

Pearl, I am waiting by my cell right now to see if you will call. I just want to know what you are doing? Please call. By the way, I am doing dishes and then I am going to try to clean up a big antifreeze spill in front of our house. In case you are wondering.:)

Vicki said...

Yes, but isn't it a great age we live in to be able to google up the lyrics to the song playing on the radio (of course not whilst driving--please, it's against the law!)with your $29.95 a month data plan cause it's too much trouble to learn 'em.

SeaD said...

Well I am of the older generation, in fact I'm sure I am much older than you, Pearl. While I do have a cell phone, my biggest irritation is when I am with friends and they are all texting or talking on their phones! There will be 3 or 4 girlfriends, getting together for dinner or drinks, and out come their phones! I say, go have drinks with whomever you are texting.

Roses said...

I'm old-fashioned. I use my phone to make calls and send texts.

Though, truthfully, it gets more use than a clock and alarm. I hate wristwatches.

Pat Tillett said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pat Tillett said...

I have one and I love the internet part of it, but I hate talking on the phone.

Hey, Pearl...your reference to "The Big Lebowski" just won you the "White Russian" award. go to my blog, click on awards out page, and pick up a copy. It is of course one of the most coveted awards in all of blogdom. I'll do a post on it very soon. The dude abides...

Douglas said...

Before cell phones, restaurants used to be places where you didn't have to listen to just one-half of a conversation. Before cell phones, we could be out of touch with the world for hours and hours and no one worried. Before cell phones, you only had to worry about the driver in the car approaching dropping his joint when it burnt his fingers (California), now, he's juggling a cell phone, that joint, and a taco.

Progress? I am not so sure.

ICKY said...

Donny - Steve Buscemi

Debbie said...

There are times it seems like an anchor around my neck! But, would I give it up? Never!

RawknRobynsGoneBlogWild said...

I agree with the deliciousness factor.
xoRobyn

justa thought said...

I've given up my land line. That's mainly because I don't want to have two sets of messages to deal with. I'm way past the age where I want to call someone just to chat unless I really, really haven't seen them in a long time. But I'm way behind in technology because I use my cell as a phone! I don't have apps. Actually, that's probably more because I can't afford the data accounts than because it wouldn't be fun. I think.

Charlotte Ann said...

When I gave up my land line a few months ago, I felt as though some one had died. I think I actually mourned the loss. Eventually I cleared all the phones off the tables and desks and sadly packed them away. I've totally moved into the current century and found I'm surviving quite well with that extra bill each month.

a Broad said...

I have a cell phone.
No one has the number... therefore... no one calls.
But I use it for the clock ... instead of wearing a watch.
It did ring once, in the middle of the film. I set it on vibrate, but never notice when it shakes.
Now I want one with a camera, at least I know I will use the camera.

Flea said...

I've only had a cell phone about 3 and a half years. Fought it tooth and nail. But I love having a camera and calendar and phone and recorder and email and FaceCrack and games for small children and maps ... I squishy heart my phone.

Kal said...

I can take the high road and say that I don't have a cell phone because I will never buy into the MAN'S propaqganda that tells me I HAVE to have one. It's the same reason I have never seen E.T. - because everyone said I had too. I also refuse to text with my thumbs after developing typing skills akin to a concert pianist. The sad truth is that I really don't have anyone to call so a phone would be wasted on me. I am sure one day I might need it but I am sure if I hold out long enough I will be the last man on Earth that is not dying of brain cancer in 20 years and not wandering aimlessly through the tundra when I can't get any cell phone service.

Gigi said...

Wait - you mean to tell me this piece of technology that I carry around with me which I use to surf the 'net actually makes and receives phone calls?????? Hmmm - interesting.

Logical Libby said...

I am trying to ween myself from my phone. I think it would be easier to ween myself from peeing.

Misfit Mommy (aka the Antichrist) said...

Pet Peeve #3064: People who not only talk loudly on cell phones in public, but decide to use a bluetooth headset while doing so. Therefore, causing myself and everyone else around to wonder if a) The person is mentally challenged and is talking to them self or b) The person talking loudly is actually really talking to me.

Boom Boom Larew said...

I have a cell phone, but don't use it that much... mostly to communicate with my son. But what amazes me is how many people "insist" that I need to give them my cell phone number. Hells no! I don't want people being able to find me!

lunamother said...

Over 30 comments and no one but me has noticed that the cell phone set to "vibrate" makes the exact same sound as a hungry goat.

I keep checking my phone when working around the yard and nothing- just that damn goat snickering.

...just sayin'

Oilfield Trash said...

Don't feel bad. I am on my first cell phone which I have had for 7 years now and I only have it because it is my work cell phone. The phone is not a smart phone but it makes calls and does text messaging. But the best thing about it is that I have never had to pay the bill out of my own pocket.

Cheeseboy said...

Still haven't bought one and I am still alive in today's society.

HermanTurnip said...

The wife and I don't have a traditional "land line" at our house. This, unfortunately, necessitates that each of us owns a cell phone. This has had the positive side effect of eliminating all telemarketing calls. Another positive thing is that my work pays for my cell phone (being an IT guy and on-call quite a bit). Call me lucky! :-)

IndigoWrath said...

Hey Pearl! You know, I just BET it was you who kept butt-dialling me from a strip joint. Cool music, admittedly, but the repeated female cries of "TAKE IT OFF!" took some explaining when I picked up the voicemail in the office. Ho hum. Indigo x

River said...

My phone is also set on vibrate, but that's mostly because I don't like any of the pre-set ringtones on it. And I refuse to pay for a ringtone. Apart from that I use the phone mostly for texting because my hearing isn't so good and I have it beside me when the computer is tying up the landline. I take it with me everywhere, but rarely check it for messages until I get home again. Unless I'm expecting a reply from someone. It has a camera which I've used twice, access to the internet if I want it, I don't that's what the computer is for, and I can load songs on to it if I want, but I use my i-pod instead.

alwaysinthebackrow said...

Only got cell phones a few years ago. Now I have tried to text, but with no keyboard, it is pretty limited.
The most exciting thing about it is when it is set on vibrate. When it vibrates in my pocket, I have let out a (very little) scream of surprise. Made some people wonder.