Live with no cell phone: fact or fiction?
Recently, a comic strip I rarely read caught my eye. It showed a baby stroller parked, part on the sidewalk and part on the grass. Next to the stroller an obviously distraught woman was kneeling, her face in agony, and her mouth wide open as if screaming. In her emotional outburst were the words, “My poor baby.”
But she was not stressing over the unattended baby in the stroller. Instead, her anguish was directed at her cell phone, which lay broken on the sidewalk, apparently the result of having been dropped.
Perhaps that was humorous to some, but to many of us it was a sad, though accurate, reflection of the role or place of the cell phone in today’s society. The cell phone has become so much a part of everyday life that it may be difficult for some to believe that we are not born with a phone in our hand or at least with our fingers cupped so that a cell phone can quickly be placed in our hand.
Did people actually live in a time there were no cell phones? Yes, they did. They really did, as improbable as that may sound.
So, how did people communicate if they lived in different towns or states? They wrote letters. By letters, do I mean those alphabet things on the cell phone keyboard? No. No, I don’t. I mean taking a pen or pencil in hand, sitting down at a table or desk, and writing words on a piece of paper. Those words were called sentences and in them you provided information to the person to whom you were writing. And, believe it or not, most people wrote in complete sentences and spelled out words rather than abbreviating them or modifying the spelling to have shorter words.
But how did you manage to communicate with someone in another room? This will surprise some, but one of us walked into the other person’s room and we talked—you know, spoke words out loud while looking at one another. It was amazing how that worked. We could even sit at the dinner table and converse with each other rather than looking down at our lap to read or exchange text messages.
Oh, and we also did not endanger the lives of others, as well as our own, by texting while driving, or talking on the phone while driving.
Guess what. There was something else we didn’t do. We didn’t stand in line at the grocery store carrying on private conversations while speaking loud enough to be heard 10 or 15 feet away. We especially did not do so using foul language that branded us as rude and inconsiderate and which was offensive to many having to hear our personal conversation though not choosing to do so.
We also didn’t have to worry about the embarrassment or rudeness of having our cell phone start ringing in the middle of class at school, or during a church service, or at a funeral, or while in a meeting, or at a concert, or just as we were preparing to ask our sweetheart to marry us.
The last instance might not be a problem today since the person may be texting the proposal rather than speaking it. Actually, I’ve observed people texting in class, at church, at a funeral, and in a meeting. They probably have their phones on vibrate, so a ringing cell phone is not a problem.
Perhaps by now you may be thinking it would have been better had my cell phone rung before that comic strip caught my eye. Actually, it might have, assuming the phone had been turned on. However, the odds are better than even that it was off, since I often forget to turn it back on after having turned it off. Just this morning I noticed it was off and realized it had been off since before church yesterday morning.
Guess I just eye a phone differently than does Apple.