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"Dr. Freud, call from Ladies' Lanjerayyyyy,...." - Blather. Rants. Repeat.
A Møøse once bit my sister ...
"Dr. Freud, call from Ladies' Lanjerayyyyy,...."
Over the past several weeks, I've done something stupid, repeatedly, and I have to say I kinda like it:

I've left the house without my iPhone.

Usually, I realize within a couple of blocks, and the Responsible Rabbit voice within hauls me back. Yet a few times, especially if I've just been heading out to get mail, or go to the gym, I've uttered the two-word equivalent of a raised middle finger and just kept on going.

And I remember: this is how it used to be.

We didn't have 24/7/365 on-demand access to our friends, families, clients, contacts and, increasingly, prompts to BUY ALL THE THINGS.  "Out" meant "not in," and your voicemail message, or pink phone slip, or even (until a few years ago) email waited for you until you got back "in."

I remember car phones when that's what they were- hunks of heavy metal either hardwired into a car or extremely inconvenient to haul around. My two senior law partners in the early 90s had them, of course, and when I borrowed one of their cars one day (the Taurus wagon, not the Porsche, duh), I got tapped on the car's ass at a gas station and found the car wouldn't start. Couldn't figure out how to use that phone for the life of me; wound up using a pay phone to call AAA and got a very expensive lesson in how Fords all had fuel shutoff switches installed after those pesky Pinto incidents of the 1970s.

A few years later, I was out of that firm, into this town,  but still commuting back to Rochester several times a week.  One afternoon, it was my turn to pick up Emily from daycare- a place that had a strict 6:00 pickup time with fines and (even worse) stares for being late. The 90 was backed up a good 20 miles by 5:15; turned out a minivan from our town had been destroyed in an accident and two kids from Emily's future middle school had been killed. But even if I heard that news on the radio, there was no way to talk back to the station or the JCC to tell them or Eleanor that I would be necessarily late.

By the end of that week, I'd gone to Rochester Tel Mobile and gotten my first-ever cell phone. Not as big and bulky as the Taurus model, but probably bigger than eight iPhone 4s bundled together. Telescoping antenna, ten whole memory spots for speed dials. No texts, no office email, no Candy Crush.

I miss it.

Years later, another emergency sent Eleanor, my sister Donna and I to Florida, and the phone became useless; I'd tried porting the number from Verizon to Cingular, but the area code had split in the intervening years and while I could call Eleanor (for whom I'd just gotten a 716 phone), she couldn't call me. So on our return I switched to the new, purely 716 number I still have. That, I think, was a flip phone. So cool- just like Star Trek. And you could text- not that I ever did.

Miss that one, too.

In time, Emily got one, too, and upgraded more or less along with me to where we now both are, with iPhone 4s.  Eleanor's shown no interest in anything other than a number and a line for outgoing and incoming- and increasingly, she's leaving hers behind when going to work or the gym, quite on purpose.

Me? I still feel more need to stay in touch with clients, especially during the workday, but I've been making a conscious effort to shut the sound after 5:00. That, along with the subconscious leavings-behind, may help keep me saner as life gets less sane.

Hearing the story of the train full of mobile users, ignoring a carload of warning signs before a murder finally got their attention, makes this learned indifference seem even more tragic. This story- Alexander Graham Bell meets Kitty Genovese- makes me want to forget that phone now more than I ever have.

This entry was originally posted at http://captainsblog.dreamwidth.org/165306.html. Please comment here, or there using OpenID.
6 comments or Leave a comment
oxymoron67 From: oxymoron67 Date: October 22nd, 2013 03:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's funny. If I'm just going to work, my phone stays home.

If I'm meeting people, yeah, I bring it. But, normally, like today, it's sitting on top of my TV.
warriorsavant From: warriorsavant Date: October 22nd, 2013 06:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, and we didn't have none of this new fangled internet neither. If we wanted T&A, we had to walk to the adult book store to get it. Five miles. Barefoot...

(Actually, kinda agree with you, but needed to get that out.)
captainsblog From: captainsblog Date: October 22nd, 2013 06:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
That certainly gives new meaning to "uphill both ways."
symian From: symian Date: October 22nd, 2013 06:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
I keep my wallet and keys and phone in the same place so I never forget them. I need my phone in case of emergencies, to take a photo of a car accident if there is one, and that's is about it. I keep my ringer off most of the time. That is because I refuse to be available 24/7. I am not available when I am driving, or eating, or shopping, or at the movies. I simply am not, and will not be.
tilia_tomentosa From: tilia_tomentosa Date: October 23rd, 2013 12:56 am (UTC) (Link)
And I still remember the time when people were busy reading something on paper while travelling. :P When I was a university student in Sofia,I would even read a newspaper or a library book on my way from the university to the dorm (the commute lasted at least 20 minutes), which sometimes lead to my missing my bus stop. :D

Well, I'm not in a first-world country, so there aren't so many people in my home town's public transport using mobile devices for anything other than occasional phone calls, but I have no doubt there would still be plenty of readers of newspapers and magazines if those things hadn't become so expensive.

Both my cellphones (connected to different operators because talking to another operator's user is expensive) are just phones, and I'm at peace with that. But I sometimes still miss the time when I could call anybody in town from our land phone and not worry about the bill. Ironically, land phone calls and subscriptions have become too much of a luxury now where I am. And damn it, the cheapest way to talk to my local friend (whose cell phone is connected to the THIRD operator!) when we are not physically together is via the Internet from our respective home computers.

And I also remember how popular street payphones were... there were lines for them!
tilia_tomentosa From: tilia_tomentosa Date: October 23rd, 2013 01:00 am (UTC) (Link)
P.S. but I don't live in a place where every person where just about every person who may want to shoot at random strangers in the public transport has easy access to a gun after all.
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