(Note: This blog post also appears on The Huffington Post's blog site under the same title: "Technology Gone Haywire: Why I Despise Cell Phones.")
I don’t own a cell phone.
And when I say that, I don’t mean that I don’t own a smartphone. I don’t even own a "dumb" phone. The only phones I have are the ones hooked up to my landline, and you can make them ring by dialing the same phone number I’ve had for more than 35 years.
I’ve never owned a cell phone, and the reason is simple: I despise them.
I despise how they distract people. I can’t stand how everyone feels the need to always be connected, no matter where they are. I hate hearing people carry on conversations while they shop/eat/walk/pee/poop. Seriously, if you’re sitting on a toilet and get a sudden urge to call me, please don’t. And if you’re in the same car dealership waiting room as me, I do not want to hear you talking about the cyst on your left foot that won’t go away.
I’m so disappointed with how cell phones have changed the
way today’s society--especially young people--communicate. WTF. Thx technology. ILY & I no YOLO but I am LOL at society. ROTFLMAO. ICYMI ppl have 4got
how 2 tlk. (J/K. But I think they have
forgotten how to write in cursive. Millennials: You can Google "cursive.")
I loathe how the cameras on phones--by the way, why do we still call them phones?--have ruined live music shows. Everyone at every concert is suddenly a photographer or videographer, and they have to hold their phones up to capture the moment. Here’s a tip for you shutterbugs: The show’s a lot better when you’re not watching it through your handheld device.
It makes me sad to see couples out on a date, sitting at a table in a restaurant, waiting for their food to come; but instead of talking and, God forbid, interacting, they're both staring at their phones, scrolling through this feed or that, trying to keep up with their friends, or circles, or tweeps, or what have you. Good old-fashioned romance is being choked to death by iPhones and Galaxies.
I’m also tired of almost being killed by people who find it perfectly fine to drive their cars while dialing/talking/texting/navigating. No matter what the traffic laws say, so many people find it necessary to keep in touch while on the road, even if it means risking their life or the lives of others. And while I understand the convenience of Google Maps or a GPS app on a phone, maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad thing for people to just let themselves get lost once in a while. After all, you can’t find yourself until you’re lost, right? (By the way, that car going 50 miles per hour in the fast lane on the freeway? The driver is on his or her phone. I can almost guarantee it.)
Although I don’t own a cell phone, I do pay for cell phones. (Add this to the list of things I despise about them.) My wife and youngest son have phones and I’m the one responsible for our family’s "plan." Lucky me. I don’t use the devices, but I get to preside over their use and send Verizon money every month.
Last week I was lucky enough to get to call Verizon and try to negotiate a cheaper plan, because our current monthly bill is tough to pay while I’m out of work. After finally getting a live human being on the other end of my phone (landline, of course), and explaining my dilemma, they suggested a plan that costs $30.00 more a month. I swear someone is just trying to torture me. Hey, Verizon: I don’t want "more everything"; I want "less everything"!
My son thinks I’m bound and determined to be the last person on this planet without a cell phone. Quite frankly, I would be totally fine with that. If I have an emergency and can’t find a pay phone (millennials: you can Google "pay phone," too), it’s not like the person standing next to me won’t have one I can borrow. Trust me. I have this all figured out.
The issues caused by this technology that has gone haywire and changed the world forever have even found their way into popular music. The latest example is the song "Tones" by my friends The Bergamot (see YouTube video below). Early in the song the duo demands, "Stop texting, when we’re talking, and I’m spending this time with you." Later on, they sing:
You say politely, you don’t want to fight me, and I take things too seriously
What could break you and take you so far away from here?
Fingers punching, always talking when your lips have nothing to say
It’s so quiet in the room now that your phone’s all tucked away
And we can just talk about it some other day.
Cellular phone technology seemed like an amazing idea in its infancy. But the more powerful, more affordable (ha!), and smaller these handheld computers have gotten, the more connected the world has become. And by being more connected, society has become more disconnected than ever. The world will never be the same.
As for me, you can have my landline when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers. And before anyone asks: Yes, I do have running water.