Friday, July 2, 2010

"Please silence cell phones now."

Last night I went and saw Eclipse. I'm a fan, what can I say? I've read all of the books, and enjoy the movies (yes, with all the cheesiness that they entail). In any case, thats neither here nor there. I had a thought as they flashed the "please turn off cell phone" message - what would life be like without cell phones? Then I remembered, I spent a good part of my youth without a cell phone and I managed just fine.

Take for example High School, I did just fine without a cell phone freshman year, and that's because I had a pager. A green one to be exact that fit snuggly in my right jean pocket. My best friend Cindy got one, and so that meant that I of course needed one. Pagers are an interesting device. Especially without a cell phone to call anyone back on. We devised a code system to alert the other what was needed of them and whether to in fact locate the nearest phone to call them back. This became a precarious situation when a phone was unable to be located, but we managed.

The other styles of communication we had in high school were of course the regular land line phone apparatus (which was used a lot in high school for late night convos) and of course the note passing in high school. Ah, the note passing. I would spend a good amount of class time (sh don't tell my parents) devising perfectly scripted notes to be passed during period. Sometimes they were in color, sometimes in code, and sometimes included games. But they always contained the most important information regarding who was dating who, what the latest crush did, and what the weekend plans entailed. They were a staple of high school life. So much so that we created "note" books. We in fact simply passed spiral notebooks back and forth. And if we didn't cover the neccesities during the school day, we simply used the land line to call one another that night.

Senior year I was given a hand me down cell phone from my mom. And I received my first ever own cell phone number (which is the same one I have today). I'm trying to recall how often I used that phone, but to be honest, I cannot recall using it very often. There just weren't a lot of people to call on that cell phone, and I had limited minutes, if at all any, and texting just wasn't in the picture then.

(Caveat: My cousins are 12 and 14. I remember when they were 7 and 9 and both had cell phones. And texted. All. the. time. I'm not sure what they were texting. Because at 7 I don't remember there being anything interesting that I had to say, other than what bow I would wear in my hair that day.)

So, I managed to survive high school without a cell phone. But I think it was because I didn't understand how useful the cell phone would become. Let me correct that, how essential the cell phone would become. I can't imagine not having a cell phone now. As I looked around the movie theater last night, I realized that potentially every single person in that theater had a cell phone, and it also appeared that most were looking at something on it at that precise moment, including myself.

There is some criticism of always being accessible, however. It is nice some days to place the cell phone in a corner of my apartment, and not think about answering it. It is, almost, freeing. Take for example the "Chicago incident". Last fall I went to Chicago for the first time ever with a debate - like team I coached at my law school. Imagine me, as the coach, the one who was to be the responsible one, standing in line waiting to board the plane to Chicago realizing that my phone was, in fact, still sitting in my car, in the airport parking lot. Begin freakout. As I weighed the options of how fast I could run to my car, and get back through security to make it to the flight which was already boarding, I realized that I was going to be without a cell phone, in Chicago. At first, I freaked out. How was I going to call my boyfriend? How was I going to stay in touch with all the people I talk to in Houston (keeping in mind that I'm not really a phone talker so that probably wouldn't be an issue)? More importantly, how was I going to be able to check my email 30 times a day, and stay on top of what everyone was doing via facebook? My life was coming to a hault. But then, I got to Chicago, and spent 4 days without my cell phone, and realized that it was in a way freeing. That not having the ability to check my email or stay connected via the internet, was peaceful. And, guess what, I survived. My life did not crumble into a million pieces, I did not cease functioning, and I managed to make my way around Chicago without the help of the handy gps feature on my iPhone. That's not to say that everytime I park to go the airport I don't spend a few minutes making sure that my phone is safely located in my purse, because while it was a freeing experience to be sans phone for a few days, its not one I'd like to repeat any time soon, how's that for dependence?

So, I guess the point of this story is, life would be entirely too difficult to manage without a cell phone now. But I suppose that's because we are used to having a life with a cell phone, and not because life is actually easier with one. Or, maybe it is?

1 comment:

Ashley said...

I was in South Africa for the entire month of May -- without a cell phone. Rather, without my iphone! It was difficult at first, but after a while it was nice to be out of touch with the world for a bit!