Cell phone or work of satan?

One has to wonder where the anti-Christ will appear. There is speculation in some circles that he will reveal himself (herself?) in a more disassociated way then as a mere human being-type person.

Consider the cell phone.

An article in the NYTimes (here) describes the remaining 15 percent of the population that hasn’t been enfolded in the warm embrace of the cell phone yet. In 20 years this new technology has grown, Borg like (Blob-like, for us older types) and it looks as if it is going to take a lot more than phaser or fire extinguishers to make it all stop.

It is interesting that an entire technology has grown to encompass 85 percent of the population in a mere 20 years or so. Billions of dollars of the economy depend on it now. Sure would be cool if they made those things in this country.

But I digress.

Really, is there any more intrusive technology around? It turns normally prudent drivers into maniacs, makes us all tell our most intimate secrets to strangers in line to buy groceries, and leads to panic attacks when we forget where we put the damn thing, leading us to frantically call it and race around the house hoping to hear it ring, or twitter, or sing, or whatever idiotic ring tone it has, before the battery dies and it disappears into a nether world of lost socks, pens, lens caps and pennies.

I remember resisting. My family was among the last on our block. Only the insistance of my employer that I had to have one as a condition of employment, made me consent.  

Plus my wife was starting her schooling in Logan. Driving all those winter canyon roads, “what if something happens?” she said. Nothing did, but she felt better.

So now I can be called by anyone, anywhere. I remember, during one period of family crisis, getting a phone call while wandering Deseret Industries and finally pleading that sitting on an old sofa surrounded by used books and dead toasters wasn’t working as a place to discuss that sort of stuff.

The days when I forget to take it with me are bliss. Anyone can forget, right? And then nobody can find me, or call me, or ask me questions.

Amazingly, the world still spins.

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10 Responses to Cell phone or work of satan?

  1. Di Lewis says:

    That’s why you just ignore it when you don’t want to talk to someone. That’s the beauty of cell phones. You can use it or reach someone when you want to, or just ignore the world if you’d like to.

  2. Mark Shenefelt says:

    My wonderful phone allows me to occasionally receive a call from Israel or India about 2 a.m. regarding a production problem.

    Or, when I forget to take it off mute after a meeting, I can expect to be castigated by a spousal unit for the negligent transgression of being out of reach.

    I’ve learned to regret choosing a favorite song as the ringtone. Soon, I cringe at the formerly happy sound.

    If the damned phone didn’t cost so much, I’d love to fire it into a cement wall.

    The antichrist? Yes, a good candidate.

  3. flatlander100 says:

    I read that article too, Charlie. I am one of the 5% of refusniks who doesn’t have a cell phone because he doesn’t want one. With phones at work and at home [plus computers in both places], I can be reached most of the time, except in transit on the bus or walking, or hiding out at a coffee shop — a time for reading news papers, chewy books or cheap trashy ones, or gazing out the windows watching cloud shadows play across the mountains, which time I defend from interference vigorously. I don’t want to be reached there . To shell out something on the order of half a hundred a month or so to haul around a cell phone I (a) don’t want and (b) don’t need seems pointless to me.

    But what about when you go away on trips, I’m sometimes asked. Well, the point of a getaway is to… well, to get away. No cell phones. No laptops. No email. [Family has the list of hotels/motels/friends we're staying with, and can reach us in case of emergency.] But beyond that, part of the point is to be out of touch, and Away From It All. Isn’t it?

    The most appalling thing in the article was the woman who said she just couldn’t deal with having to agree to meet a cell-phoneless friend for lunch two or three days in advance. Too confining not to be able to change things on the fly right up to just before. Thought as I read it that the friend wouldn’t be missing much if cell-phone-Dolly didn’t show.

  4. dan s. says:

    Ah, but Mr. Flatlander, what do you do when you’re supposed to meet someone at a coffee shop and one or the other of you gets the time or the place wrong? :-)

  5. ctrentelman says:

    i’ll tell you what they do, dan — they survive. The earth spins, grass grows, all is right with the world. Is there ever a meeting at a coffee shop that is so critical that you MUST be in touch?

    My favorite example of how anald we’ve become with being in touch and reachable is the artcic explorers who went to the south pole in 1914 or whenever and told people, in essence, to start worrying if they hadn’t heard from them in two years or so.

    mostly they made it back.

  6. flatlander100 says:

    Dan and Charlie:

    Dan: What happens? A meeting the time for which I got wrong turned into a pleasant hour reading in Neil Shubin’s “Your Inner Fish” with some good coffee along for the ride. Charlie’s right on target. As usual.

    Charlie: My favorite tale along the lines of cell phone mania involves the group of hikers at Mr. Ranier National Park who got lost, and discovered they could not call up the Park Service to get rescued because they were in the backcountry where no cell phone service reached. One of them sued the Park Service for not having warned him that his cell phone wouldn’t necessarily work in the backcountry. [He lost.]

  7. Alan Meyer says:

    It used to be awkward to practice lines for an audition while driving or in a public place. Now I just use my cell phone as a front!

  8. TWRB says:

    @Dan. Charlie is exactly right. You get on with life, you reschedule.

    Plus the cell phone has noticeably degraded our manners and level of responsibility to each other in these situations. People I have noticed feel a lot less responsible for showing up on time or showing up at all. The etiquette has shifted so that people think it’s much more acceptable to be late or no-show because they can just call the other person at the last minute.

    In addition, people plan ahead less. Instead of getting directions or confirming details ahead of time, they just jump in the car, thinking they can rely on mobile maps, or, again, just call at the last minute and say \where is it we’re meeting again?\ In my experience the rise of these behaviors and attitudes CAUSE a lot more missed meetings than the ones that are saved by cell phones after a missed connection.

  9. tim says:

    the new world order will meet in north georgia after armegeddon, the instructions are there for the survivors written in every language, a new set of commandments if you will.

  10. Bud says:

    Want to talk to God? Pray. He (she) doesn’t use cellphones or text, and never ever runs out of minutes or gets stuck in a dead zone.

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