My Luddite Life – Part 1

Posted by Marlinee on Dec 2, 2010 in Middle Age |

There are many mod-cons that I do not consider convenient at all. Cell phones are one of them. I have had a cell phone on and off for about 15 years. The first one I had access to was actually useful. It was one of the early ‘brick’ models that my company lent out for extended road travel. Luckily we had it in the car on a trip to the Bruce Nuclear Plant in the middle of winter, when my fancy Acura slid off the road in a horizontal snow squall. But other than that, I have no requirement for a cell phone. Here’s why:

• If I am not at my desk, I am not reachable at the moment. I am either in a meeting, on the subway, or in the bathroom. Further, if I answer my cell phone when I am in transit I can’t write down what you are phoning me about. Even more so if I am in the bathroom. Please just leave a voice mail at my desk number or home landline, because I haven’t enabled my cell voice mail – it requires some sort of access code and I have no idea what that is.

• There are no consulting emergencies. Your crisis is not my crisis. No one will die if I don’t get back to you immediately. And the reason I am not getting back to you immediately is that I am doing something that is important to me, like getting my nails done.

• Cell phones are a money grab. When you really need to use one, you are out of your home zone and get charged usurious roaming fees. My current phone dies whenever someone is foolish enough to call me. I think it needs a new battery, and new batteries cost almost as much as a new phone. However, the old phone no longer supports some of the new features the phone company has decided I need, and hence the batteries for it are no longer available. The alternative is to buy a new phone and lock into another term on the cell phone plan. Instead, I’m going to throw it away but am still trying decide how best to maximize the enjoyment of disposal. Perhaps I’ll throw it on to the subway tracks.

• Until the recent number portability thing, when you changed providers you changed your number. That was wonderful. It was like moving in the middle of the night and leaving no forwarding address. Now it’s much harder to ditch all the people that have your cell phone coordinates.

• If you need glasses to read, you can’t use cell phone keys without finding your glasses. This means it is impossible to answer your phone before it goes to voice mail if you are screening your calls. On the other hand, it’s more convenient for me if you try and leave a voice mail.

• If you are travelling and you have a clever cell phone, it will automatically adjust the time to different time zones. This would be a good feature if you didn’t get charged roaming fees for the privilege, and if you could see the time display without finding your glasses.

• I must admit getting email on your cell phone is somewhat useful, but only to the extent to which it helps you pretend you are being vigilant while goofing off. You can’t effectively read attachments on your Blackberry anyhow, so most people just thumb-type back that they’ll answer the message when they get back to their computer.

I rest my case.

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