Actually, a cell phone is something that I have no desire to own. It is just something else to have in my pockets, an interruption when I don’t want one, less privacy, something technical that I now have to learn and to deal with. And for this, I have to pay quite a bit of money - every month. And probably hassle with technical support people from time to time. I don’t know anyone who just loves their cell phone company, something else to keep in mind.
I am not someone who can ignore a call when it is inconvenient. When I hear it ring, I answer, no matter what I am doing or what time it is. Which sometimes pisses off those around me. I have learned that when I am doing something very important such writing a contract with the buyer right here (or eating supper - it’s a bug of Janet’s that I defer to), the best thing is to simply take it off the hook until I am free to talk if someone calls.
And I have always preferred to make a capital investment rather than incur monthly bills. My income has always varied considerably from month to month and I don’t like incurring expenses that way. When I can, I pay all at once. that is getting harder to do as time progresses as fewer and fewer creditors want to do that, or get demand for it from others.
Smart phone? The thought of trying to type on a miniscule keyboard or attempting to read a tiny screen is an excruciating one. People think this is fun? For vacations, I recently bought a laptop (and a mouse) so I could remain in some contact with my customers and clients. And I find that terrible to type on. The screen is worse; I have to keep shifting things around to find them - and everything is too small to read easily. I don’t want apps that I will not use or not know how to use. I can wait until I get home to a real computer. If that will be too long, well, there is the laptop…
And, an admission: I get a secret pleasure in not owning one. However, if I could eliminate my home phone and just get by with a cell, I‘d do it in an instant. There are plenty of good reasons to have a cell phone, even for me. One of my requirements is to keep my same number. I have had this number since 1999 and a lot of people have it. It is on a lot of web sites. It, along with my email address, brings me 99% of my business. And if I change either, it is going to cost me business. “Just ‘port’ your number over”, you are thinking. Well that is supposed to work nearly everywhere and is a simple solution. Notice the word “nearly”: it won’t work here. I don’t know if Frontier lacks the ability to do it or of just feel they are losing too much business if they do. At any rate, they do not port phone numbers, at least not in our local area. That in itself is enough to keep me from getting a cell phone as a replacement.
Then there is reception. We live in a rural area and I wouldn’t have it any other way. But companies do not want to make investments in rural areas; they like cities, where they can make a greater profit. So we fall way behind in getting the technical advances city folks take for granted. The second or third wave of technical advancement is often out before we get the first one. And the firms that make the technical stuff make them on the apparent assumption that everyone lives in a city, which only compounds the difficulties we face. A few years ago, it was common for me to get calls and then find myself talking to dead air as the caller lost service. It feels dumb to realize you have been actively talking to - no one. Reception is getting better and the gaps are slowly getting filled in, but there is a long way to go before cell phones are as reliable as land lines.
Cell phones can lead to some funny situations. Every so often I get people who are “geographically challenged”. (That means they couldn’t find their way out of a paper bag. Or they cannot follow directions.) They will call me periodically, increasing in frequency as they near my office. So they are on the phone as they hesitantly drive in, then get annoyed when I do not come out to meet them. Well, folks, I have to hang up to do that.
This is funny: I just got a second email inquiry from the party I am taking out this Sunday. They asked the same things they had asked a week ago, including the farm’s location. In my last email from her, she said she knew exactly where it was, too. So I played the straight man and politely answered the questions. She replied that her daughter must have been playing with her phone and resent the first message. So they’re toys now?
That’s almost as funny as a call I got a couple of years ago. I picked it up and got no one at the other end. Then I could hear someone yelling, but way in the background. I listened closer. It appeared that this must be a contractor and something quick came up while he was calling me, something that he had to attend to before we could talk. That made sense: I work with a lot of contractors. It seems they have money and often look for summer places or hunting property. But this guy kept yelling away at whoever it was on the other end, swearing now. And kept doing it, paying no attention to me. It seemed like he was on a ladder and they were working on a roof. By now, I was saying “Hello?” rather loudly and regularly. This went on for a while before I hung up. Later, I decided he must have had his phone in a holster and somehow managed to call me by mistake. Who would intentionally make a phone call while on a ladder? I have no idea if he was a customer or someone unknown, The number (Caller ID is my friend) was not one that I had in my records and never appeared afterwards.
Never say “never”. The day will come when I cannot resist the momentum of technology and will succumb and find myself tied to a cell phone. And I’ll be happy to say goodbye to Frontier; it’s been a tenuous relationship that we have shared (I almost said “enjoyed”) all these years. And I’ll bet my difficulties with the new company will be …”less enjoyable”.