why I do not own cellular telecommunications device

There was a time way back in the dark ages (back when cameras used something called "film" and Justin Bieber hadn't even been invented yet) when a blog post like this would have been pointless - and not just because blogs, also, had not been invented yet.

See, back when I was the age of the students I now teach, portable telephones were the size of pedigreed Chihuahuas, and just about as expensive to buy and maintain. Only extremely ostentatious rich people had them, and nobody else gave it a second thought.

You might wonder how we survived back then, and here is the sad fact: we often didn't. If, for example, our cars were to break down by the side of the road, we were forced to take the one option then available - panic, freak out, and die right on the spot. And if we wanted to change our plans on the fly, well... we just didn't. Back then, you see, it wasn't possible to collect hundreds and hundreds of friends you could pick up or ditch at the push of a button; so if we were going to meet a buddy and something better or more interesting came up mid-transit, we were forced to drive all the way to wherever we were planning to meet, all for the purpose of not damaging a relationship. How pathetic is that?!?

The truth is, everything was a lot slower-paced back then (translation: more boring) and everyone was way, way less happy. They were forced to build a few close friendships and maintain them year after year, regardless of what zany and interesting new people might be out there. It was a serious drag, I tell ya.

So why, now that we are in this advanced, brave new world, am I so stubbornly, obnoxiously refusing to buy a cell phone? It's not like anyone has any doubts whatsoever about the safety of cell phones, is it?

I guess it must be because I'm really, really cheap, and that cheapness has me deluded into thinking that I can get away without one. As a boring homebody who mostly only travels from home (where I tend to sit around wasting my time on archaic pastimes like writing, cooking, cleaning, learning an instrument, hanging out with family, and playing with my son) to school, I guess I figure my cheap-as-dirt land line will cover me. And since I often ride a motorcycle on this commute, my thick leather gloves make it impossible to dial or text on the way, so even that necessity is not somehow a part of my experience.

I've also been telling myself that since I'm never more than fifty feet from the nearest cell phone, in case of an emergency or catastrophe I can just borrow one from someone else - but how unrealistic is that? When was the last time you heard about a human being helping another human being out when they were in serious trouble?

That's what I thought.

Still, it does seem rather irresponsible of me to willfully place myself back in the dark ages like this... to place my life and the lives of everyone around me in such grave danger. Someone really ought to call the padded wagon and get me committed for reckless self-endangerment.

If history has taught us one thing, it is that technology is always a good thing and that we should never, ever try to stand in the way of it. Caution is for wimps and commies, and while I'm not sure where I fit on that spectrum, you can bet your last landfill-bound, toxic-chemical nickel-cadmium battery that I'm there.

A lot of people these days are talking about a time in the not-so-distant future when we'll all be able to get our phone/computer thingys implanted right into our brains. Those people are crazy, right? The very thought of that is enough to give you the heebie-jeebies and I am positive that with our track record, when the the technology becomes available, no one's going to sign up. But having a computer in my hands all day, every day... I just can't see why that concerns me.

I mean, it's not like my students really need to pay attention in my class. If they want to know anything about art, they can google it. If they want to make any art, they can buy the app. They should be free to spend their time on more important things, like texting their friends about how boring my class is.

And for all the naysayers who would point to the cell phone-related traffic deaths and the degenerating interpersonal skills and the minuscule attention spans and the inability to carry on a single frickin' conversation without having it broken into bits by text-breaks, well, I just have to say this: it's all good, my friends. It's all good. In the end, we can always pick up our mobile cellular telecommunications devices and call a professional to come make everything all better.

That is, if they're not too busy.


  1. I'd recommend (again) you join the Peace Corps... but probably most of the people in the rural village you'd be living in would have cell phones.

  2. Yeah, I know... I was in Peru in 2005 with old friends, and they were trying to arrange a trail ride for me with this old Quechua lady in traditional garb. When we asked how we'd get ahold of her on the day, she reached into her voluminous colored skirts and pulled out - you guessed it - a cell phone.


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