or when you got a new one and couldn’t figure out how it worked,
or when you accidentally laundered it,
or when you dropped it into quick-drying cement,
or when you ran over it with your utility truck.
(Just a note: any of those last three pretty much result in the first one. And no, you can’t just “let it dry out.” And yes, I had to explain that fact numerous times.)
Generally speaking, I think near-universal cellular coverage is going to end up being a good thing. Providing they don’t end up killing us all first in horrible traffic accidents.
Thanks to cheap cellular service, many people I know (myself included) no longer have a “home phone.” This makes my friend, who works for the local phone company, excessively nervous.
That’s the thing about big changes. Someone’s always going to end up getting the short end of the stick in any revolution. As with nearly anything of value in life, there’s always a cost. You may not pay it, but someone will.
I can still remember party lines and rotary dial phones. In fact, when I was very little, it seems like I remember that the entire small Kentucky town that my family came from was on party lines. Not a single person in town had a private phone line. If you were quiet (not to mention nosy and lacking a good understanding of personal boundaries), you could listen in on your neighbor’s calls.
In some ways, mobile phones have made us more connected. There is now the unspoken expectation that you should always be able to reach someone, or at the very least, leave a text message or a voicemail and get a speedy response. It’s a reflection of our impatient, “always on” culture of connectivity.
But connectivity is not necessarily connectedness. Being able to reach someone nearly any time you want does not give you words, or empathy, or a relationship. Technology can be a lifeline between two people, or a barrier, or a set of masks. Connectedness is invariably an issue of heart, mind and soul–no matter what cables, antennas or towers might be involved. And the root of the word cellular itself implies small, self-contained individual parts–or a room in a prison. Connectivity can give you freedom and mobility–or it can be a leash.
As I get ready to head off on my weekend “girls retreat,” I’ll be in one of those rare spots that cell phone towers still haven’t reached. In one sense I’ll be “disconnected,” unplugged from the matrix of social media and wireless access. But I’ll also be nurturing some important relationships, and that is a kind of analog connection that is worth the effort to maintain.