Well, it has finally happened. We got rid of our land line and now we’re like everybody else (or nearly everybody else)—solely connected to the world by our cell phones. Here are the sad remnants of a life gone by:
I have resisted this. I love the idea of a land line. I liked walking in, seeing the message button blinking to let me know someone still loves me (or at least wants to sell me a timeshare), and having a phone that I owned, but which didn’t own me.
With a land line, you can literally walk ten feet away. You can ignore it entirely, go outside, run errands, and come back fully able to return whatever calls have come in.
No longer. Now we must be reachable instantly. And if not by phone, then certainly by text. Because everything in this world has suddenly become urgent and cannot wait two minutes. We now walk around, tethered like a Minute Man, ready to fight a fire or deliver a baby at the drop of a hat.
How did people function before this? The answer is: Quite well, actually. There was a feeling that you were truly the master of your own ship, able to have a quiet walk if you wished, or to enjoy the solitude of a good book. Today those attempts at private time are interrupted by dings and buzzes, screens lighting up and faces of callers appearing as if by magic.
It’s as if we’ve all agreed to tear down our walls and live in one gigantic house together, yanking on someone’s arm as they head into the kitchen, shouting to someone else in the bathroom, never having to wait a single second to make contact.
Yes, I know you can ignore it (if you have the discipline), but then you must explain yourself. What on earth were you doing that was more important than answering my call?
So yes, I miss the good old days. I even miss dial phones, and the pink Princess Phone I dreamed of having when I was a little girl. The dial lit up. It actually Lit. Up.
And those dreams are hard to relinquish. So, at least I have a cell phone case that looks like a perfume bottle, with a handy chain so I can carry it around easily:
But I still don’t want to be a slave to it. Every night when I plug it in, I make sure it won’t ring by turning the ringer off, putting it on airplane mode, and then turning it off entirely.
“Don’t you want to wrap it in duct tape and bury it outside, just to be sure?” St. Bob asked the other day.
Hey. I may have embraced the technology of this new world. But I don’t have to trust it.