Tuesday, March 31, 2009


What did we ever do without cell phones? Actually, a cell phone is one thing I have never been too attached to. We do own one, and it has been broken for months, without it affecting our lives much at all, since we rarely used it to begin with. We bought it for emergency purposes and kept it in the car, or took it with us when our daughter was little and had a babysitter. We keep thinking we should replace it, but so far have not been too motivated.

Carlomagno starts out her chapter on giving up cell phones with an anecdote about thinking someone in a ladies' room was talking to her, when the other person was actually on a cell phone. I find more and more that people have no compunction using their cell phones in public rest rooms - a practice I find to be in beyond tacky.

Dependency on a land line seems to be extremely distressing for Carlomagno, who is used to contacting people with updates regularly. I think this habit of people younger than me may be my biggest "generation gap". Working on a college campus I have noticed that it is not uncommon for students to wait to the last minute to plan anything, in the hopes that something better might come along. Just as a program is about to begin the cell phone come out and calls are made so that friends might join the caller in whatever activity he/she is about to do. I prefer to make a plan, and stick to it.

The author's descriptions of those using a cell phone were not new to those of us who do not use them: for instance "the reporter" who lets someone on the other end know wherever they are. Whenever I ride the commuter rail to or from Boston I can count on someone on the train to call everytime we make a stop and let their party know "I'm at Campello now". She seemed surprised about calls made in church, or grocery stores. None of this surprised me.

My 11-year old daughter has been on a campaign to get a cell phone for about a year now. She told me she would need one when she started middle school because all the kids call their parents when they get on the bus. I told her I didn't need that level of updating about her life. If there was a problem with the bus, the school would let me know, otherwise I would assume no news is good news. I was glad to find out this weekend that I am not the only parental hold out on cell phones. The Boston Globe magazine had this article, explaining why the author's 11-year old daughter was not getting a cell phone.

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