I don’t blame him. Those things are down-right expensive. That’s why I don’t have one — can’t afford the phone itself and certainly can’t afford the monthly subscriptions, connections, apps (whatever those are) and all the other add-ons that go along with having such an ingenious thing. Some folks’ phone bills are more than my mortgage used to be!
Ingenious they are. I am amazed at all the things my friends can do with their phones. I hear there is a phone program now that can actually check your heart if you put your finger on the screen. Ingenious? Yes, but I also heard the other day that the human race is “dumbing down,” and the report said that technology is partly to blame. I don’t know about that, but I do know it’s almost scary what some technology can do.
My phone bill is only $30 a month for two telephones. But they aren’t smart phones; they’re just dumb phones. They will place a call and take a call, which is about all telephones are supposed to do — or at least that is way it used to be.
And for that $30, I only get 50 free minutes, but that is usually more than I need. (Some people talk on the phone more than that in an hour!) I hear the government is now even giving away phones with more free minutes than mine, but don’t get me started on that.
If not for emergencies and the computer line, I don’t know if I would even have a telephone. (Lady Julia keeps telling me, with a roll of the eyes, we don’t need a land line for the computer, but what do I know about techno?)
Growing up, we didn’t have a telephone until I was a teenager, and I reckon we got along just fine. Didn’t have a TV either. Shoot, we barely had indoor plumbing. Every Saturday I had to go use the neighbor’s phone to call a cab to take me and Momma to the grocery store. That’s about the only time we ever used one — phone or cab.
There was a pay phone up at the far end of South Aycock Street from South Alma Street where I lived. It was at Mr. Duffey’s Barber Shop which sat at the railroad tracks on Burson Avenue near the intersection of Aycock. I would sneak off up there when I had a dime and call my first sweetheart. First girl I ever kissed. Completely missed her lips on the first try, as a matter of fact, but that’s another story that won’t be told here.
When we did finally get a phone, it was a two-party line, and we had to wait to make a call if the other “party” was on the line.
Our first “cell” phones were those big, heavy analog devices, which we would probably still have if they were available. They did all a phone was supposed to do — place a call, take a call.
Then when Lady Julia started traveling a lot for her job she got one of those uptown things called a “bag phone,” an almost regular-size phone in a bag which plugged into the cigarette lighter of the car.
I am sometimes glad I don’t have a smart phone because I’m pretty sure I would love it and probably let it take up too much of my time like the regular computer does. And Lady Julia might do more than roll her eyes if I pulled it out of my pocket at the restaurant and started texting. Maybe I could text her across the table — if she had a smart phone.
I don’t know if this was what Alexander Graham Bell envisioned when he first heard sound through the wire of a twanging clock spring. (The History of the Telephone, Mary Bellis, about.com). It is said that he would not even have his own invention — the telephone — in his study because it was too much of an intrusion on his real work as a scientist (Wikipedia).
Wonder what he would think of his invention now. How would he text: “Mr. Watson, come here; I want to see you.”
Fordham is a retired journalist. He writes an occasional column for the Times-Georgian.