Sunday, May 15, 2005

Something With A Ring To It

I was sitting home tonight thinking about the role of technology in our modern lifestyle, and figured I right away share those thoughts on my blog for the whole world to instantly see and comment on. The irony of which is not lost on me at all.

In 1876, Alexander Graham Bell brought us the telephone. For over a hundred years it was a nice way of calling your buddy and asking if he/she wanted to do something. A means of calling for a date or a beer or just to say hi to mom across the country. It became a true piece of Americana.

Then someone got the bright idea of making a device for folks to leave message on, the answering machine. No longer would we wonder about missed calls and important info lost on failures to be home or in the office to get an important phone call, of course, in the office...if you were important enough a secretary or other staffer took a message for you. You could arrive home and check all the message you were left and call back the folks you wanted to and your friends and family learned what list they were on.

Then someone decided to allow call forwarding, a simple service that allowed a person to forward calls to one number, to another number. No longer would you have to wait till the end of the day for your messages, you could just forward one phone to another you'd be near. Brillant!

The of course came the cell phone..or car phone as the early bulky ones were known. No longer in need of worry, we are reachable 24 hours a day, 7 days a week via phone, voice mail, and text messages, with caller ID so we know who is calling...don't recognize a prob, it's probably someone you don't know...and if it is, they can leave a message.

Which brings me to my thought, where the hell did we go wrong? Why do we allow ourselves to be reachable all the time? What would happen, if just for one day, we put the phones down, turned them off and just ignored it all. Turn off the cell, turn off the call forwarding, turn off the answering machine, and just say to heck with all. A single 24 hour period, of freedom. No worry of the office calling with an emergency and when they reach us, we must go in. No more playing text message tag to meet somewhere for dinner. Just decide it and go. The only allowance I'd make is for emergency, and this is like life and death, not I'm out of beer and can't drive can you pick me up some and drop it off, or I really need to know if Payless is having a sale today. If it doesn't involve blood, mayhem, damage, or some serious's not an emergency. We've gone from having a life outside work to being tied to the office. The office has become a mother, we are the children, and the cell phone the umbilical chord which was never cut!

Stop, take a moment and think about how your cell phone factors into your own life and is it really better? Personally, I'd rather be done at the end of the day, saddle up and ride a few miles on horseback to the farm. If it's important, ring the church bells, send a rider, or even a pigeon with a note, but just let me relax!

Oh, wait...sorry, I need to stop my rant. Apparently I have some message on my phone and they need to be might be important and I can't miss it!


Vastine said...

i'm exempt, i don't get many calls anyways. i'm not trying to garner sympathy (overtly, anyways!)

Steven Taylor said...

Try going on a three or four day camping trip to the Hill Country where there is no cell phone signal. Stay at a state park so that there is no phone number you can be reached at. You can drive into town once every day or so to check messages if you're really having cell phone withdrawl.

Laura said...

Personally, I would prefer to be reachable at all times. So I think I'll keep my phone around.

rich said...

Ed, good to hear from you, too. I'll link to you on my blog. Hope work is going well, and all. Glad to see you're still enjoying life in College Station and at Westminster.

rich said...

And, oh yeah, my wife always has the cell phone on her, so if the car breaks down, she can call me, at which point, I won't have a car to go rescue her, but I'll know, and possibly be able to get help.