August 15, 2012 - On Aug 16, 2006 I wrote the following:
I have had a cell phone now for a couple years, but don't expect me to give you the phone number. Even if I like you. Also, don't look for the number on the bottom of my business card.
My cell phone isn't really for talking. It is for dear wife Jennie to be able to call me whilst I am driving to or from work and other destinations.
I turn off the phone when I am home.
I turn off the phone when I am at work.
I sometimes forget to turn on the phone while I am in the car.
It is pretty cool looking and I feel like Captain Kirk when I whip it out.
"Kirk to Enterprise -- get me the hell off this planet! Kirk out."
I think it has games programed into it, but I am not sure.
The cell phone's not really a part of my life. As a matter of fact, my minutes last and last and roll-over all the time. I got about a million minutes of cell phone use coming to me. And even though I have paid for those minutes, I probably won't use them.
I am just not that comfortable talking on a telephone. I do much better when I can look at the person I am talking to -- which isn't to say I am good at interpersonal communications (there is a reason I took up the written word). I am not much of a talker -- less so when it comes to verbalizing into any phone microphone.
My phone etiquette is not polished. Matter of fact, I bet it sounds pretty sharp. Rude, if you must. When somebody calls me, the conversation from my end goes like this:
"Hello." "Yes." "No." "Okay." "Bye."
I think I come by that conversational ineptness honestly. It was drilled into me by my father, but not directly. We had one phone, Mom, Dad, Me and three sisters. Which really only meant we needed one phone for Mom, Dad and Me and one for each of the girls. That was then, but I am sure even if we had cellphone technology, Dad wouldn't have it in our house.
The phone we had was black, hung on the wall between the kitchen and dining room and had a cord of about 12-feet in length. There were no really private conversations. (Oh, and if you must know, yes, it was a rotary dial phone, too.) Dad didn't get it switched to a push button operation until he and Mom moved in the early 1990s. His opinion: No need to get a new phone when the old works just fine.
To Dad, the phone was a necessary tool. It wasn't a toy or an extension of your social status. You get on, say your piece and get off.
It used to drive him crazy when one of my sisters would spend minutes (yes, just minutes, not hours) on the phone talking to their friends who they had just seen at school and would see later in the afternoon or evening. He didn't get it. I suppose I don't either. I just feel awkward talking on the phone. I mean, it's a phone, not an extension of my hand or a growth on my face. It's a piece of plastic.
Like I said, I have a cell phone. I obviously have a computer and an e-mail address, but when it comes to gadgetry, I at times am uncomfortable with technological advancements. I am not saying my life bares an eerie resemblance to that of Ted Kaczynski (even though the Unabomber did have a graying, bushy beard.) No, don't expect me to blow anything or anybody up.
While we are free to communicate all the time now, I just don't want to become a slave to technology or gadgetry. That's probably why I resisted the temptation to get a pager in the 1990s and why I haven't any kind of small, pocket-fitting music player nowadays (if I wanted something like that, I see all sorts of "Walkmans" and transistor radios at garage sales).
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Today, Aug. 15, 2012, I give out the phone number to everybody and it's with me 24/7. Times change, and I reckon, so do I.
E-mail comments to: Don@ShermanPublications.org.
Don is Assistant Publisher for Sherman Publications, Inc. He has worked for the company since 1985. He has won numerous awards for column, editorial and feature writing as well as for photography. He has two, sons Shamus and Sean and resides in the area. To read archived copies of his columns, click on his name, just under his picture up top . . . He can be e-mailed at: firstname.lastname@example.org