“Hello? I told you never to call me here!”

A woman speaks on a cell phone“I told you never to call me here!” is a more common expression nowadays, as everyone seems to have a cell phone, a pager, and perhaps a second of each. It seems that we in America love being in contact with the world, even if it means having our hips ring in restaurants and movie theaters. I think it’s crazy. Back when I was a boy, if someone was expecting a call, they hung around the phone. If someone went out of the house, they couldn’t be bothered by a phone – it was like an escape. Nowadays, I can’t go even five feet without someone’s cell phone going off. It seems pagers were just a step in the trend towards being in contact all the time. Pagers, you got paged, and then called the person back on a land line. Now with cell phones, you call the person and they answer! One Sunday in July, I was in church and someone’s cell phone went off! The minister was very tactful about it, but still… that’s bad. While I was away at JMU during the spring semester last year, Dad turned everyone into a slave to their cell phone at home. My sister got one, for one thing, and whenever they go out, Dad insists they have their phone on in case he wants to call. And somehow, they expect me to do the same, despite no one telling me about this. I’m in Charlottesville doing errands. I come home, and Mom says, “I called your cell phone and you didn’t answer.” My response is that of course I didn’t answer, because the bloody thing’s not on (and that’s the way I like it)! My philosophy for cell phones is that they’re lovely if I need to call someone while I’m out. Otherwise, if I’m out, I don’t want to talk to you on the phone (but would be happy to meet you in person). I think that in the five years I’ve had a cell phone, I’ve received maybe six incoming calls, tops. And that’s six too many, if you ask me. There’s something wrong when much of America is being run around by their little electronic devices. So to you America, I say, turn off your cell phones unless you’re calling out, and enjoy life without being beholden to this mass of plastic and stuff on your waist.

Date posted: September 1, 2001