• Fern

Phones and Thrones

As I’ve written about before, I am a late comer to, nay even a reluctant embracer of, technology. Well, not all technology; certainly, the computer and I have an amiable relationship for many years, and I consider myself savvy, though probably not super savvy, in that regard. But, I have only in the last year begun to use a cell phone, other than two times when I bought a track phone, used it two times on vacation and then demoted it to the back of my underwear drawer. In my defense for arriving late to the cell phone scene, there was the issue, initially, of living in an upstate New York town that had no cell tower. One of the more amusingly twisted pastimes of Woodstock merchants used to be watching tourists walk around the village green holding their cell phones up in the air to try and catch a signal, looking like so many Statues of Liberty.

This time is real. I have joined the grown up world, though I stop short of photographing my food (okay a few times I did) and anyway I notice it’s not so much a trend anymore. I am generally behind the trends, and I use my obstinate and rebellious nature, as well as my age, to defend that right. I dragged my heels a decade ago about joining Facebook, until my daughter told me how it would help to stay connected to our large extended family. Now that I am a FB aficionada, the younger generation, both my Gen Xer kids, and my millennial step kids have moved on to the greener (and more cyber secure) pastures of Instagram. I am once again behind the herd.

I secretly embraced my phone from the very beginning – not because I’m texting madly or communicating in the produce aisle with someone who might remind me to get toilet paper, and not because of the phone even, because, let’s face it, how important is my life that I need to make calls when I’m out and about. I’ll accept the “what if you have an emergency when you’re on the road” rationale, except hey, I lived thru scores of emergencies on the road for the first four and a half decades of my driving life, as I tended to be driving less than reliable vehicles. Now that I have an almost new car, it all seems so ‘after the fact’; and I doubt if I were having a medical emergency that I’d be able to locate my phone, much less remember I have one. Maybe I should take that sentence out, it could be bad karma…

No, I embraced my cell phone because I love having a camera with me all the time! This is the fabuloso part, the reason I loved it from the beginning. I can now catch the sunsets, the clouds, the rippling brook, the bear family romping through the back yard. Plus, I can edit, crop, and add special effects without having to labor over the intricacies of photo shop (I have fleetingly done that and barely mastered it.)

Oh wait, a little more ranting. Does anybody else miss that sentence that has disappeared from households? "IT’S FOR YOU!” or the mellifluous tones of one kid to another “ARE YOU STILL ON THE PHONE?” I recall my mother coming into the bedroom while I was on my pink princess phone (my dad worked for the telephone company) “YOUR EAR IS GONNA FALL OFF, YOU KNOW!” And my Dad, the bill payer, turning red in the face and tapping his watch “IT’S COSTIN’ ME!” Ahhh, those were the days.

Before the princess, we used the crazy kitchen wall phone, with the longest cord imaginable. It was so stretched out, it hung down to the floor (thanks again to dear dad) and you could reach almost every room of the apartment, crunching it in the door when you shut it for privacy.

Secretly, I still have concern about making calls to cell phones. I use the landline (what is that, right?) whenever I’m home. I wonder about those on the receiving end. What is the person doing? Where are they? Or, if they do answer while they’re in the car, or in the supermarket, laundromat (substitute any outside errand), how distracting is that? What about the road noise? Can we really have a chat? Of course, if they don’t want to talk, they don’t answer. Duh. They don’t have to answer, which is another sort of rejection that never existed before answering machines (maybe that’s another blog, another rant?)

So, full disclosure here. This week I made definitive progress in my embracement of the cell phone. I was sitting on the throne scrolling and reading the news when the phone rang…right in my hand!

Uh oh. It was my daughter in law. I couldn’t take the ringing. I answered. “Is this a good time?” she asked. “Of course.” I answered.

I feel so…advanced.

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