It seems to me that my Sweetheart-for-Life and I are likely considered to be out of step with the times, living back in the cave-man era when it comes to cell phones – you see, neither of us has a “smart” phone. Yep, we each have an ancient, out-of-date “flip-top” phone that kinda looks like those “communicator” devices in the original Star Trek television series. They are smaller than a typical deck of cards, measuring about 3.5 inches long, less than 2 inches wide, and a little under .5 inches thick. The screen is 2 inches measured diagonally and the keyboard is about 1.5 inches each way.
To describe these as “little,” particularly when comparted with the latest smart phones, would be a gross understatement but their petite size serves to make them easy to carry when we’re out and about. I tote mine in a leather holster that clips on my belt and she has a just-right- size pocket on her purse and also one in her cloth carryall on her walker. Although my phone would fit in my shirt pocket, I can’t put mine there because of the proximity to my pacemaker.
We got these some years ago as replacements for our first cell phone which provided only limited service. We needed reliable communications when we on the road or at either our winter home in Florida or our travel trailer which was permanently parked overlooking a small country lake in the north central part of the state. These phones filled the bill and, although we no longer have either the Florida home or the travel trailer, we still use the phones daily to talk with people.
That’s right, we make and receive phone calls and have actual conversations with folks and leave and receive voice mail messages when appropriate. We don’t text even though the phones have that capability, nor do we take pictures, play games, keep a calendar, or use some of the other features available on our flip-tops. We don’t walk around with a Bluetooth electronic umbilical cord stuck in an ear. Nope, we use them simply to provide wireless voice communications as an adjunct to our also antique hard wire home phone system.
We have no problem with folks who rely so heavily on their smart phones as critical to their every day activities, but we choose not to allow these electronic gadgets to complicate our daily lives. To that end we still rely on a kitchen wall calendar to remind us of important dates – supplemented by post-it notes on the range hood. And I suppose that same attitude towards our life style is why our “new” car is a 2005 gas/electric hybrid with over 100,000 miles on it but still looks and runs as if it just came off the showroom floor.
It doesn’t have all the new electronic “improvements” such as self parking and rear view TV but it fills our needs while getting around 42 mpg in the city and over 50 on the highway. Our “old” car is a 2001 minivan, also with over 100,000 miles on it, but, as with our “new” car, it provides what we need to satisfy certain transportation needs.
In retrospect, there are a couple of instances that kinda turned us off from these newest electronic marvels. A couple of years ago we were at a family gathering when I chanced on a rather large living room where a number of our grandchildren and a few great-grandchildren whose fingers were flying over their cell phones.
When I asked if they were playing some kind of games, I was told, “No, grandpa, of course not. We’re texting each other.” Oops! Whatever happened to old fashioned conversation? A second instance occurred when a guy we know very well was in a panic because he had misplaced his smart phone. He told us something like, “My whole life is in that phone. I can’t do anything without it.”
Another oops. Kinda scary when someone’s life is so bound up in a controlling device.
By the way, we aren’t against modern digital technology. I have three laptop and two desktop computers and several printers – but I consider them to be useful tools, not controllers of our lives that demand our attention.
We also have another electronic doohickey that’s handy. It’s known as a “tablet” and provides wireless connection to the Internet so we can receive and send e-mail, allows us to Skype with family and friends, permits us to take photos and transmit them, watch TV, check the weather, read electronic format books, and a whole bunch of other things. There is one problem, however, it’s too big for a holster to clip onto my belt or to fit into a pocket in her purse or the carryall on her walker. Oh, well, we can’t have everything. At least that’s how it seems to me.
Bill Taylor, a Greene County Daily columnist and area resident, may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.