Hello, it’s me.

Love/Hate Relationship with Cell Phones

Anyone who is close to me recognizes that I have a love/hate relationship with cell phones.  But on the flip side, my landline era is long over. (Yes there was a pun in there). So about cell phones and land lines…….

Throwing Away Land Line Phones

I don’t liken myself to a hoarder. Being on the road a lot meant I did not always attend as much to my house as I should.  In particular, I was lax in throwing away things I no longer needed or wanted.  So recently I set off on a voyage to do just that.

Most of it is paper, like the owner’s manual and maintenance records for a car that died a final death in 2014.  Not sure why I kept them, except that I never really bothered to dispose of them.  Recycle bin.

Then there were four telephones for my old landline.  In my head, I rapidly reviewed any reason whatsoever to keep them. Finding none, I put them in the “dispose” stack.  They were cheap phones anyhow; they did not even have caller ID. Remember oh faithful readers: I spend my money on fancy restaurants, upper class air flights, and my cat, not on fancy gadgets or material possessions.

Thoughts on Cell Phones

Over 19 years, I have owned a whopping total of 5 cell phones, having each in service an average of 3.8 years.  In the world of technology, that makes me an antique collector.

My Evolution of Portable Phones

My evolution of portable phones.

The above picture shows my evolution of portable phones with the exception of my current cell phone.  (I used my current phone to take the picture).

From left to right:

  • Landline cordless phone – vintage early 1990s, it was revolutionary for the time.  You could walk around your house or outside and talk to someone on the phone.  Maybe even across the street.  The conversation went something like this:  “Guess where I am?….I walked across to the street in front of Mildred’s house and I am still talking to you on the phone…..Oh yes I am!”  Freedom.
  • Nokia – This phone (a 6110?) was a total piece of shit.  How shitty and annoying was it?   I will never buy their product again.  Not to mention, the service provider (Sprint) was a case study in horrible customer service.
  • LG – I loved this cute little phone.  It actually made great voice calls and took reasonable pictures for the day.  Cingular was a reliable service provider.  They got bought by AT&T.
  • Motorola Razr – Best phone ever.  I think this was a V3xx and I got it early on, so for a brief few weeks I was the cool guy with the coolest phone.  Great sound.  Great reliability.  Great camera.  Great display.  Great look.  But sadly, it physically fell apart after way too many years of too much use and abuse.
  • Apple iPhone 5c – Yes I went to the dark side a true smart phone.  As a phone, it sucked.  As a computer, it was adequate.  But I am a simple person so I got a simple phone.  Then one day it went flying across my garage and landed on its corner and shattered the display.  It still works though.
  • [Current Phone] – I staying in the Apple family.  I stepped up from the 5c so I am a bit happier with it.  Have not had it for 3.8 years yet, so ask me later…..

And to prove that these really were my phones, I asked a sexy guest model to pose with the display.  Yes friends we welcome Billysky back to the blog!  She is happy and well.  Her favorite was the landline cordless because it meant I had to be home.  Aww.

Always On Call

I’ve been accused of never answering my cell phone.  If someone calls me, and it is convenient to answer, or I was expecting the call, I will answer.  Otherwise I will call back at a better time.  (Or maybe not depending on who called).

Don’t get me wrong.  I love when friends call me.  I am a social person and a talker.  Believe me I’m a talker.  But if I don’t answer right away don’t send a dozen texts with what you called about.  Because if I am not answering the phone, chances are I am not reading the text.  Plus I will miss hearing your happy voice.  You can leave a message after the beep.

Phone Etiquette

I think my attitudes on answering phones stems from growing up with a land line only.

Think about this:  with a landline, you could only answer your phone when you were at home. If you were out, you couldn’t answer.  Its almost high concept these days.  Back then, people left voice messages. [This is Paul. It’s 2:09 PM.  I wanted to see if you wanted to get ice cream.  Call me back before 3 if you do.  867-5309.  Later.]

Dinner time calls.  Additionally, a landline was never answered during dinner hours.  Dinner was NEVER interrupted by a phone call.

Long Distance Calls.  Any call between 11 PM and 11:15 PM was always a long distance call because rates went way down at 11 PM, so you answered.  (Some of my older readers most certainly remember this).

Late Night Calls.  And any call later than 11:30 PM was a true emergency.  So you answered.  Generally the whole house woke up because something bad probably happened.

The land line rules worked.  Cell phone rules are more hazy if there are any.  I can’t understand people who answer every cell phone call no matter if they recognize the number or how busy they are.  I saw a lady in an elevator holding a child and bags trying to fumble her ringing cell phone out of her purse.  Her side of the conversation went like this, “No I am not interested.”  Then she hung up.  I was not sure why she even answered at that inconvenient time in the first place, except my guess is the phone was her addiction.

Text Messaging

I was a late adopter of text messaging.  I am still not a big texter.  Once someone goes past 5 or 6 texts in a conversation, there is a good chance I will either call you or bow out.  I believe text messages are best used for logistics and check-ins, not for long conversations.

Take my voice mail example:  “This is Paul. It’s 2:09 PM.  I wanted to see if you wanted to get ice cream.  Call me back before 3 if you do.  867-5309.  Later.”

As a text it would be something like:  “Ice cream b4 3?  U in?”

Text works better!

For real on-the-road logistics, landlines where so convoluted .  We had a system where we could call our answering machines to see if the other person left a logistics message.  Which meant both the other person and ourselves had to find a pay phone.  “Running 20 min late.”  “I am at the Market street entrance and will wait here for you since I have no idea where you are.”

The message we never ever could send or receive.  “Stuck in traffic.” Because if we could make a call we had left the traffic.

Amen for cell phones and logistics.


Benefits of Land Lines

Here are the 4 things I liked best about land lines:

  1. You were not on call 24×7.  People could only bother you call you when you were home (or at work).
  2. No “Hello” texts from bored friends who then take 20 minutes to reply to your reply.
  3. We did not have to listen endlessly to other people’s phone conversations in public.  Even if one sided.  Phone booths had doors.  Hallelujah.
  4. If someone asked for your phone number, you could give a fake number and they could not check it until they got home or to their office.  No awkwardness.  It was like a precurser to modern-day ghosting.

Benefits of Cell Phones

All the above said, cell phone’s have some enormous benefits.

  1. They take pictures. And then send them off to whomever you choose.  Brilliant.
  2. They play music.  And videos.  Also brilliant.
  3. Benefits #1 and #2 are true because, get this, they are not really telephones.  They are computers that happen to have a telephone feature.  And a camera.  And a speaker.  And a web browser.  And apps.  And a flashlight. And so much more.
  4. You still do not have to answer cell phones if you don’t want to.  Neither do I.
  5. They are a savior for planning and arranging logistics.  I have no idea how anyone ever met up for anything without cell phones.  Yet we did.  And too often we didn’t.

Final Thoughts

A few final thoughts and final pictures:

  • Landlines well outlasted cable TV in my house – I was an early adopter of cutting that cord and it was one of the smartest things I ever did.
  • As I clean up and clean out, I am in mortal fear of finding an AOL install disks.  Anyone remember getting these 3 times a week in the mail?
  • Speaking of outdated things, anyone know why I still get Yellow Book left on my porch once a year?
Best cell phone case ever – only because of the picture
An inside look at the Motorola Razor – loved this phone

Thank you for reading.  And put your phones down on occasion – there is a whole bigger world out there.