Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Cell Phones

I enjoy--perhaps more than most--the social media video that shows people watching their cell phones while they walk into lamp posts, make their way into fountains, even narrowly avoid being hit by autos. If you are familiar with my blog, you know that I maintain a love/hate relationship with social media. And cell phones are high on my list of devices I keep around but don't particularly like--at least the way they seem to have taken over our lives.

Maybe it comes from decades of being "on call" and available, being dependent on pagers, cell phones, and other devices. My wife, bless her, uses her cell phone for email, as a small, portable computer, takes pictures with it, as well as making and receiving calls. I, on the other hand, carry mine almost unwillingly, receiving and occasionally initiating calls.

It also seems to me that text messages (with or without emojis) have almost replaced phone calls. Maybe I'm old fashioned, but what happened to simply calling? The person on the other end will either answer or they won't. And if they don't, we can leave a voicemail. You remember voicemail, don't you?

James Scott Bell recently posted about the time he left his cell phone behind, and what he discovered. I have to agree with him that perhaps our dependence on those devices, and our constantly checking them, has robbed us (especially the authors among us) of our usual powers of observation.

I  know I've come off as sort of a curmudgeon. Maybe I'm just anti-progress. As my hero, OC Detective Adrian Monk used to say, "I'm not against progress. I just don't like to be around when it happens."

What do you think?


Priscilla Bettis said...

I spent the last hour studying. My cell phone is off. Who wants to be interrupted when you're doing something brain-heavy like reading or writing? I turn off my phone during social situations, too. It's better to be a good listener than a distracted one.

Richard Mabry said...

Priscilla, good for you. Unfortunately, some people don't seem to realize that our smart phones have an on/off switch, or even that it's possible to silence and ignore them. May your tribe increase.

Patricia Bradley said...

I read JSB's post and knew exactly how he felt. I, too, check my email, messages, use the camera and calculator. I also keep check on the weather and use the GPS on it...of course, the GPS once took me to a mental health hospital instead of the library...

Richard Mabry said...

Like most improvements in our lives, our smart phones are two-edged swords. And my golfing buddy still tells of following his GPS directions while on vacation, and the road became progressively worse. I think he turned around when he encountered a cow skull.