By Erin Barrette Goodman
A million moons ago when I was in high school (also know as the late â€˜80s / early â€˜90s) I went on vacation with my friendâ€™s family. As we got off the plane a man in a business suit whipped out his cell phone and made a call.
â€œNo phone call is that important,â€ my friendâ€™s stepfather said, rolling his eyes.
I agreed. Absolutely ridiculous.
Fast forwardÂ 10-ish years. Iâ€™m in graduate school and my boyfriend (nowÂ husband) suggests that it might be a good idea for me to get a cell phone. For safety. Iâ€™m at school in the city. Often at night.
â€œIt really would be a good idea,â€ he said.
And for a good long time thatâ€™s pretty much all my cell phone was. This thing that I drove around with in my car and carried in my backpack â€“ 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 â€“ like finding another person in a public place â€“ atrophied.
â€œWhat did we do before cell phones?â€ we would laugh as one of us guided the other across a crowded room like an air-traffic controller. â€œOkay. Do you see me now? Iâ€™m wearing a red shirt. To your left. Iâ€™m waving at you! Yeah. There. Straight ahead. Okay. Good. Iâ€™m hanging up now.â€
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 withÂ friends and family. And to help me find people in public. Thatâ€™s it.
And thenÂ a few years ago my husband got his first â€œsmart phoneâ€ 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 â€“ 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 Iâ€™m out. And I donâ€™t think Iâ€™ll really be texting anyoneâ€¦butÂ a little keyboard would probably beÂ good â€“ just in case.
(You allÂ know where this is going, don’t you?)
Ummm…yeah. I’m two months into my first super-duper, do-it-allÂ phone and I LOVE it!Â 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 IÂ LOVEÂ 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 Iâ€™m running late but will bring coffee. I love coordinating potluck plans with our friends while shopping at the farmersâ€™ market.
And I love that last week â€“ after being out of touch for far too long â€“ 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 goodnessâ€¦SO much fun!!
How about you? What is your relationshipÂ with hand-held technology? And how is it working for you? .
Erin Barrette Goodman is a writer, yoga teacher, community organizerÂ and mother of two. When she is not working as theÂ Marketing Director for Pat’s Pastured, a grass-based sustainableÂ 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]