I never had a beeper. I never had a brick phone. I never had the latest technological gadgets. But one day I suddenly had a cell phone. My ex-wife gave me one.
I actually had a cell phone before most people. Some people were really impressed that I had a cell phone. People could reach me wherever I was, which was both good and bad. However, I prefer to communicate via e-mail rather than talk on the telephone. A few people would call me, but mostly my ex would call me to see where I was. She would call and almost immediately ask, “Where are you?” Invariably, I would answer, “I’m at work,” “I’m at school,” or “I’m upstairs. I never left the house.” I felt like a parolee with an electronic home monitoring device.
The cell phone is a wonderful invention that I can live without and I haven’t had one for years now. With a cell phone you lose all of your privacy. I mean, everyone may contact you anytime, anyplace. If you give everyone your cell phone and home phone numbers, they call your cell phone first instinctively. You’re always available to everyone at all hours of the day. With a landline telephone, I would never answer the phone when I was showering, on the toilet, or away from the house. When I first had my cell phone, I always answered no matter where I was. I felt as if I was tethered by an electronic leash.
Once I was at Home Depot, when I unexpectedly had to use the bathroom. Suddenly, I could hear my stomach churning and the noises were traveling down my abdomen. I immediately went to the bathroom. I must admit that it was a very close call and I almost regretted not having a change of underwear in the car. While sitting on the toilet, my cell phone rings and I instinctively answer it. As I’m talking, my stomach starts churning again. Let’s just say the methane gases within me built up again and took the path of least resistance. Adding to the sound effect were the acoustics of this toilet stall that would rival any concert hall. I tried to control my bodily functions because I was holding a telephone conversation, but all my efforts were in vain. Suddenly, the pent up gases escaped from my body despite my most valiant effort with a mighty roar. My friend on the end of the line asks, “What was that?” I was too embarrassed to tell the truth so I said, “I’m at Home Depot. That was a saw.” My friend said, “But that noise was extremely loud.” “Well, it was a chain saw! There it goes again! See, doesn’t it sound like a chain saw?”
I’ve been living cell-phone free and happily for three years now.