Cells and Sensibility

Hell is experiencing a light frost. Dogs and cats are finalizing their Anti-Animosity Treaty. And sharks have voted on it and decided to go vegan...

Yes, the world is topsy-turvy, and the impossible is now:

I have finally purchased... a cell phone.

I know; I am the last hold-out on the entire planet. These days, babies are handed a cell phone and given their Daytime Babble Minutes the moment they make their goopy grand entrance.

Toddlers are texting, plotting their next Chuck E. Cheese adventures and conferring on potty successes.

Dogs are barking into their Flea-Mobile wireless saying, "Red Rover, Red Rover, walkies on over?..."

And then there's me. Cell-phone-less. Fervently combating the laws of probability that I would never... oh... completely lose my traveling dad on Christmas Eve, somewhere between Fort Lauderdale, Charlotte, North Carolina, and Upper Tarnation, USA...

Or that I would take up residence in Panera waiting for someone so long, management sprinkled me with sesame seeds and slapped on special Day-Old pricing...

(There were no takers.)

Or that I would never get stuck in the middle of a 15th century Ren Faire field with a broken down electric carriage, and no Ye Olde Steed-4-Let in sight.

It was this last incident that served as Her Majesty's Wake-Up Herald on the matter.

I suppose I should explain that my resistance to the technology all this time had been more of a frugal and self-preservationist nature than techno-fear...

For years, I'd worked for a Bill Lumberg type, a driven fellow who thought nothing of tracking me down to my parents' home in New Jersey on Thanksgiving Day to ask me about a project...

Who was at a tradeshow in England and decided it would be okay to ring me up--- 2 a.m. U.S. time-- just to "test the phone."

Who called HR twice because my hour-long, pre-scheduled dentist appointment was apparently taking too long.

Being reachable 24/7 would have had me a cell, all right-- a softly padded cell with stylish, comfy jackets that were just a skosh long in the sleeves.

But now that I have changed jobs, and cell phones come with "I Only Want to Use This Every Other Month With an 'R' In It" Plans, I have seen the light.

Of course, this also means I may have to make a few other changes:
  • Switch from dial-up, where my computer was powered by three really energetic hamsters-on-a-wheel (cheers to you Squeaky, Hammy and Kenneth), to something that allows me to watch a 30-second YouTube video in under 12 hours.
  • Contribute to American unemployment, by letting my fleet of carrier pigeons go. I'm sorry for the downsizing, but these things must be done in the name of progress. Please: no flaming comments from the Pigeon-American community. They're getting a nice severance package, after all.
  • Shift from an abacus to one of those freaky new-fangled calculators. I'm going to miss this one in particular, since the six-foot wooden abacus looked so stylish in my livingroom, and the Chinese wisemen I brought in to consult around tax-time each year were some super-fun guys. "Chow har kew?" "Fine thanks, and how've you been?"
But hey, the world marches on. And if the cell phone works out, maybe I'll even consider buying clothes not made courtesy of the Spinning Jenny.

Jenny's gonna be pissed. But... that severance package. It's a good'n.

Today's question: are you a late or early adopter of new cool technologies? And have you ever used an abacus or carrier pigeon?



Anonymous said...

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Michael Rivers said...

Congrats on a cell phone. Your reasons for avoiding one are legit. Hopefully you'll enjoy it this time!

I'm on the verge of upgrading from a cell phone to a black berry. Gasp!

CatLadyLarew said...

I hate talking on the phone, so I have a cell but I never give anyone my number. (I save it for emergencies and for talking to my kid.) I also don't text. It's bad enough I have to be so technologically savvy, but to be expected to text? That would put me over the top!

Now, if I could just get rid of my land line, I'd be set. I'm such a curmudgeon!

Anonymous said...

Wow, and I thought I was late to the party, when back in 1999 I was the last of all my friends and colleagues to get a cell phone. (and yes, I was still using dial up at the time for my computer..shshshshhh. don't tell anyone). The cellphone was a big, bulky rectangular mass of black plastic with a lighted keypad. It made calls...that's it. A far cry from the iPhone I use now that can launch a space shuttle.

I actually found an old laptop of mine stuffed in the closet that I bought on New Year's Eve Dec. 31, 1999 (the day before the whole Y2K debacle), that's just how crazy I am. That laptop is probably so dated now, that current electricity standards probably wouldn't allow me to turn it on.

Welcome to the 90's!!

Jenn Thorson said...

Anonymous- Yeah, yeah... I know you're just being funny, Claire, as the Japanese spammer only spams one particular post over and over again... no branching out for her. :)

Michael- What is this fruit-powered technology of which you speak? (snicker) :)

CatLady- Yes, I'm not a fan of the phone, either. I'll probably only use the thing for emergencies and if I'm connecting with someone and I'm going to be delayed.

MadTexter- I'm picturing you with a phone the size of the old car phone Steve Martin uses in Bowfinger. The size of a small child's car seat. :) Technology has come a long way!

Skye said...

Well, you're not the last one on the planet to get a cell phone. I still don't have one and still have no intention of getting one. With what I see at work, everyone has a cell strapped to the hip and all ringing constantly, it irks me too much to want to add to that. I work in a restaurant, as I've already mentioned to you, and there is no reason for the other cooks to be sitting there texting or talking on a cell while cooking up the orders. (Not to mention the waitresses as they're taking orders from customers.) These things just don't mix. And as I work and shop within a 3 block radius of my house, well, there's no reason why I should need a phone "in case of emergency" to get from one place to the next.

Just sayin'

Matt said...

Wow....that is pretty late to the cell phone party. I think Barbie got a cell phone years ago.

Alas...I still don't have an HDTV. My (in-debt) friend mock me on a daily basis.

Jenn Thorson said...

Skye- Oh wow, Skye-- You have the BEST COMMUTE EV-ER! Three blocks? Woo-hoo! And yes, I see people who are slaves to the phone, and I don't get it. Quiet can be a beautiful thing. :)

Matt- Well, when your friend gets pursued by collection agencies you can snicker as they hall away his HDTV. :) I don't have an HDTV either-- but then I suppose that isn't surprising, given the cell phone thing, eh?

Claire said...

How did you know it was me! :(


Claire said...

Not that is was me.

Jenn Thorson said...

Claire- Heh-- I shall not tell you my secret! But for one thing, you stutter in Japanese. :)

C.B. Jones said...

You have hamsters powering your internet connection? That's neat. I use three turtles(none of which are of the Ninja verity) and a sidewinder snake.

It was four turtles, but the forth one got downsized for slacking. At least, that's what the snake had to say about it.

Cindy said...

wow... you are special, aren't you?!?!?! that's amazing... all of a sudden I can't imagine my life minus my little plastic box of communication - my cellie cell. guess i've always been quick to adopt technology, but wait... I just my first coffee maker! that counts. ;-p

Jenn Thorson said...

CB- Your turtles aren't perhaps relatives of the Slowski's-- Comcast's turtle mascots? :) PS- Never listen to the snake. Bad press, yes, but not without reason.

Cindy- Ah, and I can't imagine life without my beloved coffeemaker-- so I guess it all evens out in the end, doesn't it? :) Long may your coffee pot perk!

Leeuna said...

I've had a cell phone for years but I still don't know why. I hate talking on the phone and I usually work from home. Mostly I just keep it for emergencies, but come to think of it, I haven't had any emergencies in a long while. (knock wood). Maybe I should ditch it and go back to using carrier pigeons. :)

MikeWJ at Too Many Mornings said...

I'm actually sorta shocked to hear that you just now got a cell phone. I love cell phones. In fact, I love phones in general. They're so convenient. My dream is to get an iPhone (the service is too expensive for me right now), so that I can have Internet access, a GPS locator, a stereo, a video player, an electronic rolodex, a calendar and a photo album with me at all times. Oh, and a phone. By the way, don't forget that you can always turn your phone off when you don't want to be bothered. It's very empowering. :)

Jenn Thorson said...

Leeuna- Well, I should have some carrier pigeons available should you be in the market. :)

Mike- Oh, I like things pretty low maintenance, so I kinda tend to keep things streamlined in terms of what I think I need, utility-wise. One of my friends has an iPhone, and it's fascinating. The interface itself is just amazing. Too much for what I need, but really cool.

Claire said...


Chris@Maugeritaville said...

Flea-Mobile. Awesome. They also use Furizon and AT&T-bone.

And I agree with what Claire just said.

Jenn Thorson said...

Claire- No, I would not care for the Tuna Roll, thank you. :)

Chris- Aw, Furizon... ! Damn. That's a good one.

Walt said...

I remember as a child I had an abacus, until I broke it. And I tend to resist most modern technologies whenever possible.
Once I did find a dead homing pigeon. I had to cut its foot off to get the bird's ID band, yuck!
But I was a good scout, and did my duty.

MikeWJ at Too Many Mornings said...

Am I the only one here who believes Claire's comment really cuts to the core of Jenn's post with humor and sensitivity? She probably deserves some sort of Cabbages and Kings comment award.

TJ Lubrano said...

Hello Jenn!

Congrats with your phone!!

Well don't worry, you weren't alone! I have an Uncle who was against it for many many years and didn't like the fact that everyone could call him at any time of the day. He finally got one and now he is telling me, when he calls, why I don't pick up, because the whole point of having a mobile is to be reachable -_-'.

I, myself, don't like to be reachable for 24/7. And I almost never hear my phone! It's the strangest thing, even if it's in my pocket, I never hear it. I usually text more, but I'm not that fast like some people haha.

The blackberry is finally getting a major trend here in Holland. I knew about the BB for quite some time and it's funny to see how it becomes a trend. I don't have one though ^_^. But lots of people let the mobile technology rule their lives. Well there's more to life than staring to a small screen...I hope haha.

Ciao Xx!

DeadRooster said...

I am a pretty early adopter of technology. I am the first person in this area to get cable internet and spent many hours on the phone with (at the time) AT&T to get the cables installed in this unincorporated small town.

I'm glad you are with cellphone. I was pretty early in getting one, mainly because I was driving 60-miles through blizzard conditions to get to work (I used it twice to call a tow-truck to get me out of a snow-filled ditch).

Welcome to the 21st century, Jenn. Glad you could make it. :)

Jenn Thorson said...

Walt- Ah, good to know you're out there, looking out for the best interests of our feathered friends. :)

Mike- Well, that's our Claire all over. I mean, for the times she's sent me posts in Japanese which she, too, can't read... or the times she's threatened me via British slang... or just for sharing her packet of boiled sweets, she deserves some kind of award. :)

TJ- That not being online all the time is why I make myself be offline in the evening. There's a great big world out there offline. Some of it even involving not watching pictures on a screen. :)

Rooster- Ah, yes... because if you DIDN'T have that cell phone, we would right now be hearing about how you'd run into that snowy ditch, and then were kidnapped for a few months by Kathy Bates, who made you write a series of blog posts just for her. :)

Or maybe I'm confusing that with some other story.

nonamedufus said...

Jenn, if you're looking for some 78s to go with your Victrola, just let me know. Hello? Watson?

Melanie said...

Jenn, your life will never be the same, and I don't neccessarily mean for the better. I got a cell phone back in '95, and kinda wish I never had. We got rid of our land line years ago.

You will now learn new phrases like "can you hear me now?" and "you're breaking up!" and "dropped call".

Trust me, you're going to miss those carrier pigeons.

Jenn Thorson said...

Dufus- Ah, thank you kindly, but I already have that last hit of Edison's. I've played "Watson Come Here" a million times. In fact, I think I pretty much have it memorized by now. :)

Melanie- Well, if so, maybe I'll get another post out of it, anyway. :)

Kathy said...

That fact that you drove to meet me, Bryan and Kim in Wellsboro without a GPS or a cell phone means you are either insane or extremely talented and I want to be you. I'm going with the latter.

Congrats on the phone! Welcome to the 21st century. We've been waiting for you.

ReformingGeek said...

You've joined us on the dark side and it feels good, doesn't it?

Anonymous said...

My commiserations on getting a cell phone... oh, that's a "good" thing, you say? My apologies. Let me rephrase... :P

Jenn Thorson said...

Kathy- Hey, YOU my friend, were the inspiration for this particular kind of phone. I didn't even know there were cheap, pay-as-you-go options for cell phones until you showed me the one in Wellsboro. So thanks to you!

Reforming Geek- Well, it's charging as we speak, so I'll let you know! :) (PS- Now I'm picturing you as some Darth Vader of Cell technology)

Tony- Ah, but not being stranded in a field in rural Pennsylvania is a beautiful thing.

Kathy said...

Jenn - I averaged out what I spend per month with my pay-as-you-go phone. Only 15 bucks! Most of the people I know with cell phone plans they're committed to for years cost them $50/mo. No thanks! So happy for you.

Jenn Thorson said...

Kathy- Yup, I can imagine that. I'd gotten the $100 for a whole year of non-expiring service which means per month, if it lasts me the year, it will cost me only around $8 a month.

How amazing is that?!

Claire said...

I am glad some people appreciate me!


(that was meant to be 'I love Mike', but actually is 'I Love Microphones')

Jenn Thorson said...

Claire- Well, I imagine Mike will appreciate the spirit of it, anyway. :)

Lisa @ Boondock Ramblings said...

That guy from China really wanted to get in on this conversation.

Now, seriously....ARE YOU STILL ON DIAL-UP!? Dear, Lord! Even I switched to high speed.

You and my parents could totally hang and talk about all you do while you are waiting for your email to download.

Jenn Thorson said...

Lisa- Heh, yes I am still on dial-up at home. I'm hoping to rectify that soon, but I do get whole books read in-between uploading photos. :)