Life Without a Cell Phone

A weekend without her phone teaches columnist that cell phones may be getting a bad rap these days.

Last weekend I had what could possibly be one of the most harrowing experiences that a “work form home” mom could possibly have.  My cell phone stopped working.

Ok, it might sound like a simple fix to some of you out there but, reality is, when your cell phone is your lifeline to both your job and your kids losing it is anything but simple.

Let’s face it the facts here.  Text messages, emails, and phone calls are probably the most important forms of communication that we have at our disposal these days.  Being able to take those communications everywhere we go is simply a “given” these days.  Yes, I return emails between innings at little league games and yes, I respond to text messages while I volunteer at the Pop Warner snack shack.  Reality is mobile communication is the reason that I, as a freelance writer, can step away from my desk and do so many of the other things that are important to me.

Now I realize that cell phones often get a bad rap.  Yes, texting and driving is just plain dangerous.  Yes, talking on a cell phone in many public places is just plain annoying to others.  Yes, cell phones in the classroom are far too distracting.  I can’t deny any of this.

What I have to say, however, is that can’t imagine how my own mother managed to live without one.  Yes when I was growing up in the 70’s and early 80’s life was, indeed, simpler.  I was in high school without a cell phone, I had a part time job without a cell phone and, yes, I began driving on my own without a cell phone. I can only imagine the stress that my parents were forced to endure and I am thankful every day that technology might help spare me some of the same.

In those days the “emergency call” cards that we, as moms, fill out each year actually meant something.  Our parents didn’t have cell phones and if, goodness forbid, they were not home when the school called it was on to the next contact on the list. Today I fill out the form knowing that I am, at almost all times, reachable by phone. 

I hear a lot of people complain that kids get cell phones when they are far too young. Well I, for one, can tell you that my son’s first cell had more to do with my own peace of mind than anything else. Yes, when I was his age my parents gave me a watch and simply said, “Be home at 5 PM for dinner.”  Today, however, the world seems to be a far more frightening place and the gift of “instant communication” is far too great to pass up.

When I am busy at an appointment I still like to get a text message from my son saying he is home.  When he’s a sports practice I enjoy being able to do a few errands knowing that he can drop me a line if things wrap up early.  In essence, I enjoy the freedom that having mobile communications allows me. 

Years ago I remember working for a Toshiba dealership and witnessing the first fax machines to hit the market.  In those days the internet was still fantasy and cell phones were tied to a vehicle and only for the rich and famous.  Little did we know that, by the year 2012, fax machines would be obsolete and cell phones would be a part of everyday life.

I, for one, embrace technology and all that it allows me, as a mom, to do. I do, however, live in fear of the next cell phone breakdown. 




malcolm nichols September 19, 2012 at 12:33 PM
And of coarse you remember the "Xerox" machine. You only need a phone if you need to call someone otherwise it is nice not to be bothered. It creates a level of expectation (immediate contact) which overburdens many individuals and causes a depression.


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