I need not say how much telephones have changed in my lifetime. I still remember the crank phone of my grandmother's. 32 years ago, I was on a party line. Now we have cell phones with all the doo-dads imaginable.

Confession time: Ignorant am I. However ignorance is bliss. Nope, I don't use or even own a cell phone. One might as well put a shell to my ear. It's partly because I'm intimidated, but mostly because I've convinced myself I don't need or ever want one. I have my reasons, but being obstinate isn't one of them.

Here's my take. Cell phones (carried with you) are an invasion of my privacy--more of an invasion of my right for not being interrupted. All phone calls, cell or regular, are made at the convenience of the caller. More than likely, they don't know what the "callee" is doing.

Let me be clear, I hate hearing my house phone ring. I'm usually occupied with something, even if it's reading or watching television. INTERUPTION! Ugh. Of course, the phone usually rings when I'm showering or on the john. Fortunately, I have an answering machine. That does screen "donation" calls, etc.(I am on the "no call" list, which doesn't exclude charitable groups.)

My golf playing friends all have cell phones. Talk about inane reasons to talk, the conversations of which are usually superfluorus. "Watcha doing?" "Playing golf." Duh. Plus, the phone rings in the middle of a swing. Or: "I can't hear you."  "Can you hear me now?"  Blah, blah, blah.

As an aside, let me mention that all calls I make from my house phone to someone's cell phone--even my neighbor--are "long distance"! Another reason for hating them. There ought to be a law.

Yes, I've heard all the "emergency" reasons for carrying a cell phone. I'm still not buying them. I'll let someone else call 911. After all, everybody else has one! Not me, not now, not ever (but shhh, never say never!). Call me the last of the hold-outs. I'm sticking to my stone age guns.

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Comment by kathy: ky on October 9, 2013 at 12:04am

Cell phones are a pain but I could  no longer find a pay phone I had to give up and get one.

Comment by tom sarbeck on September 28, 2013 at 2:18am

Randall, sticking to your "stone age guns" [nice metaphor] works for you because you don't travel and sell for a living. Back when a cell phone was the size of a shoe, I asked a traveling salesman why he had one.

He replied "Did you ever travel an Interstate highway and take an off ramp to find a phone booth?"

I understood.

I can get along without a "smart" phone (smart because using it requires a college education) but decided to try one. I like its built-in phone directory.

I explored the Settings menus and changed those mysterious voice mail numbers to my land line number. The calls I move too slowly to answer [= all incoming calls] now go to my land line answering machine.

Comment by Luara on September 27, 2013 at 1:47pm

I no longer have a landline phone, because the cellphone costs MUCH less than the landline. It's only 10 cents/minute, and no tacked-on charged.    I use the cellphone only for practical reasons, not to chat with people.  I ignore it if I don't want to talk. 

A cellphone wouldn't work for you if you're too far out in the boonies to have good reception.

Comment by Angela on June 10, 2013 at 11:33am
My first phone was a bag phone. Remember those? You had to leave it in your car plugged into your cigarette lighter. I am happy to say that I know own a smartphone and love it! Info right at your fingertips! I have a daughter out of state and another who travels a lot. If I'm reading I just put my ringer on silent, leave it on vibrate and with a quick glance I can decide to take the call or text.
Comment by tom sarbeck on June 10, 2013 at 2:41am

Way back when a cell phone was the size of a shoe, I knew a man who had one and asked him his reason.

He told me he was a salesman and his territory was a couple of counties. He asked me if I'd ever been driving the Interstate and tried to find a phone booth.

I understood. (The size of a shoe? How long ago was that?)

I'm not a Luddite; I retired from the computer industry. Last year I got a minimal cell (no contract, 25 cents per minute) and used it only when I was away from my landline phone. I told no one its number and ignored incoming calls. Six weeks ago I decided to try a smart phone. In a few months I might know my reason. More money than I knew how to spend?

Comment by Joan Denoo on June 9, 2013 at 10:52am
When I don't want to answer the phone, I turn the Ring device off and the phone takes a message. I can then respond in my own time. For my bedroom phone, I took it apart and unscrewed the wire to Ring.
Comment by Luara on June 8, 2013 at 12:11pm

ps I have this same resistance to adopting new technologies.  But often when I have, I find them useful. 

I didn't get AC for a long time because it uses a lot of electricity.  During the summer I felt like a leftover being warmed up in the oven. 

Then I got a minisplit heat pump, and I found my heating bills went down a LOT in the winter. 

Comment by Luara on June 8, 2013 at 9:51am


if you have an answering machine on the landline, you can wait for someone to leave a message, then pick up if you want to talk to them.  With that and caller ID the junk calls don't interfere much. 

I think my cellphone belonged to a drug dealer before me ;) 

Comment by Daniel W on June 8, 2013 at 9:32am

Interesting dilemma.  When it comes to decisions like this, I make a list of the pros and cons, and stew over it for a while.

Phones are a cursed necessity.  In my household, we text more than call.  I am deaf on the left so can only hold the phone on the right, which is also my doing and writing hand. 

So far, the majority of calls to my house go to the land line.  When I answer, "hello?  hello?  hello?  (click click pause - then an obnoxious sales call) it pisses me off royally.  I look at the caller ID first, but most often there's no clear ID.  That is also true from trunk lines for some legit businesses - clinic, utilities, bank.  Although, those are also often junk calls.  If they start into a sales call and dont let me get in a word edgewise, I tell them they are very rude and hang up.  I used to tell them they were a rude f**king asshole, but then one time the call turned out to be legit and I was very embarrassed.

My cell phone allows texting.  If it's just "pick up some milk on the way home" or "I'll be late" or "Did you leave the oven on", or "I left the coffee pot turned on", it lets me answer where and when I need to.    The land line does not do that.

I keep the voice mail turned off, on the cell phone.  They can leave messages on the landline.   I do not answer while driving, in the shower, or while doing personal hygiene.  Some people do.   I don't answer while doing something that gives me piece of mind, like cooking or yard work.

I had a cheap cell phone for a long time that was notorious for pocket dialing.  It would randomly dial people while it was in my pocket.  Sometimes, it would look into the on-phone call list and call people I know, sometimes people I didn't know.  Something to do with the push buttons.  If one more person tells me "So just turn it off", I'll tell them to shove it up their....  well, not, but it also randomly turned on while in my pocket.  In fact, I put a lot of effort into that, and discovered the only way I could keep it from pocket dialing was to remove the battery.  It was made by LG and another that did that was made by Samsung.

My iphone - an older, used version - doesn't pocket dial.  It has a built in compass app - kind of cool and I use that now and then.  It downloads audible books, which I play by plugging it into the car accessory jack and listen while driving.  I use it more for that, than anything else.   It lets me sort through my email and delete most of it easier than the computer does.  It is also a clock, alarm clock, timer and stopwatch.  I can put a pie in the oven, set the timer on the cell phone, put it into my pocket, and go do yard work until it goes off.  I download the Atheist International and the American Freethought podcasts, for free, and listen via the car accessory jack same as books.  When I was late for oncologist appointment due to both bridges out and the traffic backed up for 30 miles, I was able to call ahead and apologize, and they fit me in when I got there.  When I was in the yard puttering and had a sudden, worst-pain-of-my-life, thought it was aneurysm but turned out to be a cancer that bled into itself, and could not stand up because of the pain, I used it to call 911.  The gps allowed the EMT to find me even though I couldn't remember the address of the country place (because I never mail there).  In that case, it was life saving.  The "buttons" - virtual - are much bigger than those on my older LG phone, good for my fat fingers.  It has some annoying properties, but I have learned to live with them.

I hate/love phones in general.  The cell phone is mostly empowering and useful.

Comment by Joan Denoo on June 8, 2013 at 8:41am

Don't get me wrong, I like being an elder. I have never been happier in spite of my health challenges. They just give me new experiences to notice and then try to overcome by whatever clever device I can come up with. 


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