By Erin Barrette Goodman
A million moons ago when I was in high school (also know as the late ‘80s / early ‘90s) I went on vacation with my friend’s family. As we got off the plane a man in a business suit whipped out his cell phone and made a call.
“No phone call is that important,” my friend’s stepfather said, rolling his eyes.
I agreed. Absolutely ridiculous.
Fast forward 10-ish years. I’m in graduate school and my boyfriend (now husband) suggests that it might be a good idea for me to get a cell phone. For safety. I’m at school in the city. Often at night.
“It really would be a good idea,” he said.
And for a good long time that’s pretty much all my cell phone was. This thing that I drove around with in my car and carried in my backpack – just in case.
And then somewhere along the way, my mom got one. And my sister. And my aunts. And we all used the same carrier and cell-to-cell calls were free. And suddenly I found myself spending an awful lot of time chatting on my cell phone.
And I watched and laughed as my basic survival skills – like finding another person in a public place – atrophied.
“What did we do before cell phones?” we would laugh as one of us guided the other across a crowded room like an air-traffic controller. “Okay. Do you see me now? I’m wearing a red shirt. To your left. I’m waving at you! Yeah. There. Straight ahead. Okay. Good. I’m hanging up now.”
Every couple of years, when it came time to renew my contract, I would resist the lure of new phone with more bells and whistles. Text messaging. Photo-taking. Internet access. Give me a break.
I just want a phone. To carry around – just in case. To chat with friends and family. And to help me find people in public. That’s it.
And then a few years ago my husband got his first “smart phone” and I discovered the convenience of checking e-mail from anywhere. Pulling up weather.com to see if we had enough time to go hiking before the rain started. Taking photos of the kids and e-mailing them (right from the phone!) to friends and family.
But still I held out with my basic, phone calls only model. (And grumbled a bit when I caught my husband tinkering around with his phone during dinner or at family gatherings.) Until, finally, after being dropped and stepped on a few too many times, my no-bells-and-whistles phone was no more.
And as we started looking into options for a replacement, I found myself saying things like:
I guess it would be nice if it had a decent camera – you know, to take pictures for the blog and stuff. And it might be kind of cool if I could check my e-mail and the weather when I’m out. And I don’t think I’ll really be texting anyone…but a little keyboard would probably be good – just in case.
(You all know where this is going, don’t you?)
Ummm…yeah. I’m two months into my first super-duper, do-it-all phone and I LOVE it! Crazy love it.
I love taking photos when we are out and about and e-mailing them to friends or uploading them to facebook. I love being able to check my e-mail and send a quick reply from anywhere. I love streaming Pandora in the car. And popping onto my favorite blogs for some quick inspiration while the kids romp on a playground.
But most of all I LOVE texting.
I love sending random thoughts to my husband when he is at work without worrying that I am disturbing him. I love being able to send three words to my boss and have him understand that I’m running late but will bring coffee. I love coordinating potluck plans with our friends while shopping at the farmers’ market.
And I love that last week – after being out of touch for far too long – I started texting with my best childhood friend like no time has passed. Back and forth. Just a few words. Total silliness. Our own secret language. Like she’s right there with me.
Absolutely ridiculous. But oh my goodness…SO much fun!!
How about you? What is your relationship with hand-held technology? And how is it working for you? .
Erin Barrette Goodman is a writer, yoga teacher, community organizer and mother of two. When she is not working as the Marketing Director for Pat’s Pastured, a grass-based sustainable farm in Southern Rhode Island, she enjoys sharing her thoughts and photos (many taken with her fancy new phone) on her blog, exhale. return to center.
[Photo credit: John Goodman]