LIFE: Hanging Up
I consider myself a moderately modern man. I dig the Internet, this cavalcade of raw data and ranting that has changed everything in the past decade or so; I love my DVD player and my iMac. However, recently we decided to renounce some modernity and canceled our cell phone service. I hate with the fiery passion of a thousand red-hot suns the creeping incivility cell phones have dumped on our society. I'm biased. I don't really LIKE talking on the phone. I don't really WANT to feel connected with everybody else in the universe, and I LIKE the idea of being "off the grid." I get enough communication at work, so the off hours are family time.
I did succumb to peer pressure and get us a cell phone shortly after 9/11, when it suddenly seemed hugely important to be ready for emergencies. But in the 4 years since, I think I've used the phone less than 100 times, and almost all of the calls between my wife and I. None of them emergencies, really. So it was decided we could spend the $20 a month our bare-minimum plan costs on something else. Heck, these days if you get in a fender-bender or something chances are someone will have a cell phone around anyway.
Reams of words have been written already about the rudeness cell phones (or rather, some of their owners) seem to contribute to life - the calls during movies, restaurant dinners, funerals, what-have-you -- the way complete strangers have no problems about broadcasting their conversations with others in public places. Maybe their brains are just wired differently; the part that thinks about other people is missing. Perhaps it's the part of me that hated being a "trendie" back in high school, but if I can help it I don't really want to be lumped in with the cell-phone zombies. I'm not saying having one is bad, and yeah, most of the people who have them are perfectly nice and respectful with them - it's that 10% of yahoos broadcasting that "I just walked into the supermarket and now I'm going to get some Cheez Whiz," the ones who yak on their phones while on a wilderness hike, or the ones who take a cell phone call WHILE TALKING WITH YOU... them I don't like so much.
The thing is, do you really need it? How many of the zillions of cell phone calls made today are essential? Not to get all zen, but lately, I find myself into simplifying... and cell phones complicate, it feels like to me.
I wouldn't say I'll never have a cell phone again - but you know, I've looked at my life and it just ain't something I need right now. I'm just saying no. The dial tone is empty.