I wish I could have a cell phone

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It borders on miraculous that I’ve avoided having a cell phone for so long.  I’m ordinarily a pretty dyed-in-the-wool tech whore, especially if said tech has a smooth, cool, white Apple logo on it.  Fine.  I can admit it.  I drink the Kool Aid, or whatever.  Sue me.

I’ve just never been able to justify the expense (monetary and social) of a cell phone.  First of all, they annoy me.  All right; to be fair, their owners annoy me.  I’m not one of these “why can’t these people just be unplugged for FIVE MINUTES” types, but it does really grate when someone I’m talking to, even if that person is in a group of people with whom I’m conversing and not directly involved in the conversation, bows out to take a call.  It says, “Oops, got a more important converstion coming in (maybe)!  Better check this to see if I should keep talking to you people.”  Perhaps you’re an oncologist waiting for important news on the cancer vaccine you’ve developed; or your buddies back at the command center have finally decoded that subspace signal you picked up from Alpha Centauri and are calling to let you know it’s definitely, for sure, 100% not a random transmission; or Karl Rove is phoning you back for advice before his next round of questioning.  Whatever.  I get it.  You’re important.  That’s fine.  I can deal with being unimportant.  I can even deal with being ignored.  But really, is the news on the other end of that persistent little ringtone so fantastically important that you can’t wait five minutes to check your messages?

And here’s something else I’d like.  Someone needs to bring to market a fashionable, or at least cute, line of jewelry that either vibrates or lights up or changes color when you receive a call on your phone.  I never go to movies in the theater anymore.  Why?  One of the big reasons is that there is invariably someone sitting right next to me who refuses to turn off his or her cell phone.  And it will ring, oh my brothers.  It will ring.  That is intolerable.  In this situation, not even putting the phone on vibrate solves the problem, because any asshole who brings their phone into a theater and doesn’t turn it off completely is damn well likely to answer it during the show.  “I bet if I just put my hand up to shield my mouth, no one will be bothered by my conversation.”  WRONG, young miss!  WRONG!  Damn, when did I become such a fuddy duddy?!

As a disclaimer, I should note that I’m the kind of person (perhaps you’ve guessed this on your own by now) who doesn’t answer my home phone when I’m busy doing something, like eating or washing dishes or playing with the baby.  This is why I pay our phone provider for voicemail.  If you call me, and I don’t answer, leave me a message.  Better yet, if you’re calling me, the odds are good you have my e-mail address.  Send me an e-mail.  And make it short; I’m a busy man.

Even if I weren’t so disgruntled about the cultural uses and misuses of cell phones, there’s the fact that they’re just too damned complicated to buy; and the service isn’t as reliable as I need it to be.  Simply put, I want a cell phone that I can leave on for 24 hours at a stretch and use anywhere in the world without roaming charges of any kind.  And I want voicemail.  I suspect what I’m really talking about here is a wireless IP phone, which will work as a portable IM handset that lets me know which of my address book contacts is online and available at any given time.  This is the tech I want, but it’s even less ready for prime time than cell phones are.

Someday….  But not today. 

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