January 08, 2007

My Own Personal Cell

For many reasons that make sense only to me, I've resisted getting a cell phone ever since the infernal devices started becoming popular. Primarily, I'm not what you'd call a "phone person."

Talking on a phone, for me, is the equivalent of listening to an infant wail into my ear. I don't pay attention very well when talking on a phone, so drawn out stories narrated to me by the person on the other end are typically missed in their entirety. For me, phones are a means by which to attain a pizza delivery, and that's about it.

My resistance to joining the cell phone technology revolution irritated more than just a few people, the privacy-invading micro-managers at my job being top amongst them. "What do you mean, you don't have a home phone number? How are we supposed to contact you outside of work?"

EXACTLY! Being inaccessible outside of work was one of the most alluring aspects of not having a phone. It was empowering, in a way. After 5 p.m., it was like I hit the "off" switch on my work-related

Unfortunately, there were others who continually cajoled me about getting a cell phone, and these were people I actually cared about, like my girlfriend, and my parents, and my friends, and the good people at Pizza Hut.

So it was, when I received a cell phone over the Christmas holiday from my girlfriend, it was with a resigned acceptance of the inevitable march of time and technology.

Having experimented with my new cell phone now for a couple of weeks, I've come to the conclusion that it's basically a miniature computer, which means all the annoyance and non-intuitive interfaces of a computer has been mini-sized to fit in my pocket. Only, instead of using a mouse and standard keyboard, I'm required to use the phone's keypad to navigate to everything from ring tones to new voicemail tones to tones alerting me to new available tones. I can also
associate a picture with a given phone number, so in addition to seeing a person's name appear when they're calling me, I can also see their face. This is a feature I intend to use sometime shortly AFTER hell freezes over.

It's not that I'm anti-technology; far from it. I LOVE technology. If it weren't for technology and computers, I wouldn't have a job. Rather, my gripe with cell phones is that they feature entirely too many useless features. For example, there's an option to play Solitaire on my cell phone. Honestly, who would want to do such a thing? I mean, if you have the time to play Solitaire, surely you can
play with an actual deck of cards. Or, hey, here's an idea: if you have the time to play Solitaire on your phone, maybe you should CALL someone, a friend or family member, perhaps. Just call and say "Hi."

I'm not saying you have to catch them up on every little thing, but just a quick "hey, howya doin'" so they know you think about them from time to time. You know, rather than playing Solitaire on your cell phone. Just a suggestion.

Not that I'm in any position to offer up any such suggestions, what with my aforementioned disdain for phone conversations, but it just strikes me that cell phones seem to be more about providing a means by which to avoid people rather than engage with them. Even text messages strike me as a conversational life support system. Is it just me, or wouldn't you rather hear somebody laugh at your joke than have "LOL!" flash up on your phone? And, really, when somebody writes "ROTFLMAO," I have sincere doubts they're actually rolling on the floor laughing until their posterior tears asunder from the rest of their body. That's something I have to see, in person.

At any rate, I guess I'm just acclimating to the new reality of being one of the cell phone toting chat bots I used to deride and mock. Now I'm one of them, and it's a hard adjustment to make. I need something that adequately reflects my emotional state regarding this new cell phone world I find myself in.

Maybe if I change my ring tone. . .

Posted by Ryan at January 8, 2007 04:24 PM | TrackBack

With each passing day, the wild and untamed stallion that was Ryan Rhodes is being replaced with a docile gelding ready (though maybe not happy about it) to pull the wagon to town. Easy boy, easy, here's a carrot for you to gnaw on. Easy now, let's just slip this bridle on you, there now, was that so bad? Okay then, how about this saddle?

I use my cellphone for pretty much one thing, I call people on it. Although I also snap a random pic or two with it from time to time (which is made waaay more better now that I have an easy means of getting them off the phone via Bluetooth). Oh yeah, I also use my phone as a watch all the time.

Posted by: Erik at January 8, 2007 05:26 PM

Hey Ryan, I've got your new ringtone right here! :)


That'll teach her to give you a phone....

Posted by: Stephen Rider at January 8, 2007 11:46 PM

My cell is basically an expensive alarm clock. My wife and I switched a few years back to one of those pre-paid plans because we almost never use our phones, we just have them for emergencies. So why pay for some ridiculous monthly plan I don't use?

What I'd really like is a phone that WORKED. That made calls no matter where I was. But instead I can get a phone that DOESN'T make calls near power lines or in parts of South County or if I'm sitting at my computer - but I can play games and take pictures and video and write messages and such happy horseshit.

Posted by: DG at January 9, 2007 10:33 AM

My undergrad crim law professor once remarked during class (this was at the beginning of the Great Cel Phone Proliferation): "I used to think everybody who owned a cel phone was an asshole. then I got one."

Blogspot is down, and I have this sweet post just languishing in my mind. Perhaps I will poop in the comment threads of your ThunderJournal until I can post it.

Posted by: LearnedFoot at January 9, 2007 12:07 PM

I was wondering why so many blogspot sites weren't working. BlogSpot is down. It's depressed. It needs a Vicoden.

Posted by: Ryan at January 9, 2007 12:43 PM

BlogSpot needs some 'roids to look pretty now!

It was annoying that Old Blogger was down pretty much all morning, especially with the geektastic news from MacWorld!

Posted by: Erik at January 9, 2007 03:13 PM

If there were still plenty of pay phones around, I probably wouldn't have a cell. As it is, when I see a crime or something (which happens more often than one might think) there's no way to report it because all the pay phones in my neighborhood have been torn out or vandalized. Very irritating.

Posted by: Joshua at January 9, 2007 05:14 PM

Still don't have one. Everybody thinks I'm a freak for that, though. Okay, everybody thinks I'm a freak for lots of reasons, but that's one of them.

I am resigned to the fact that I'll almost certainly have to get one at some point. It is becoming more and more untenable.

Posted by: flamingbanjo at January 10, 2007 02:32 PM

FWIW, I didn't get a cell phone until my wife got pregnant.

Posted by: Erik at January 10, 2007 02:38 PM

I wonder if you'll ever see a drop in cell phone ownership. Like if people just start saying, "Fuck, I never use this thing - why do I have it?"

I, sadly, need one for my business. I almost never use it for business, but I need it on the off chance that there's that one wedding where I get lost on the way to the bride's house and have to tell them I'm running late. Other than that I use it to text inane messages to my friend in Pittsburgh when I'm bored, but that's one of those things that I only do because I own the phone. I certainly wouldn't miss it if I gave up the phone.

Posted by: DG at January 11, 2007 12:11 PM
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