I Reserve All My Hatred for the True Evil: Cell Phones

When I first came to America as a child, I lived with my grandparents for some time while my parents made arrangements to find work in the United States and make their arrangements for coming here. My mother had been born in America and lived the earliest years of her life here before her parents moved the family to India where they both were originally from. It had been intended as a temporary move while her father established a writing career but, plans changed as plans often do when he was offered a position with a growing company and was soon caught up in a chain of offers too good to refuse. It was one of those offers also that had brought them back to America, my parents soon deciding to follow.

While my mother enjoyed life in India, she had missed many things about America including the rides she used to take with my grandparents through the beautiful rural countryside. As soon as she returned to the States, she decided that a weekly drive just to get away from things was needed. At this point, in the late 1990's cell phones were not common and, though my father carried a beeper for his work, he was not required to have it with him on weekends. Thus our drives in the country were peaceful and free from interruptions.

Over time, my mother, so often the worrier in the family, would hesitate to leave on our weekly excursions even though they were her idea and initially at her insistence, saying, "But what about this or what about that? How can we take time away from these important matters?"

Father would inevitably reply, "Do not worry. Rest assured no one will come to take any of our problems away. This and that will be here when we return. Now let us take a little time away and remember the joys of life."

My mother would relinquish because, after all, it had been her idea and she knew my father was right. Never once do I recall returning home to find fewer problems than when we left, but the time away was some of the happiest memories my childhood holds. Some days we simply drove while other days we would visit interesting places full of natural beauty, American history, fascinating people, childish amusements, glorious arts, or some combination of these.

Recently, these memories come flooding back to me every time my cell phone rings. Or vibrates. Or plays that once cute little snippet of Black Eyed Peas' "I Gotta Feeling" that I cannot seem to completely get rid of.

I miss those times. I miss the open road and the changing scenery as the year goes by. I miss the windows down in the spring. I miss the snow in the winter. I miss the beautiful colors of the trees in the autumn. And most of all, I miss the summer. The long, warm days and bright, glorious sunshine!

But these days, those dreams are ruined. Ruined by that most evil invention, the cell phone. Every time it rings it is as if it is mocking me. "Try to get away for an afternoon now", it says. "Try leaving home without me and see what happens when your tire goes flat or you run out of gas. Will you send smoke signals to get your AAA? Do you know how far it is to the next pay phone?"

  • People expect you to be available all the time. If you have a cell phone (and everyone is expected to have one), you are expected to be available anytime someone wants to reach you. How many times has a friend asked, "Why didn't you answer your phone?"
  • You can never relax because phone may always ring. As long as that phone is there, you know someone might call. We are so used to calls interrupting our leisure activities that it is almost expected.
  • We have become dependent on our phones. We no longer see them as a convenience but instead as a necessity. What if we have an emergency? Or what if we need to call someone else? They better have their cell phone and better not ignore my call!

How did we end up at this place in the history of communications? Why could we not leave well enough alone and leave our phones at home? Do we really need to be able to be reached 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year? It's not like we are all doctors or in some profession where lives depend on our availability. If someone wishes to speak to me and gets an answering machine, will the world stop turning?

Would we be better off without cell phones? Oh, how I do wish I could say that we would. But alas, in the modern world there is little doubt that we would not. How many people have made it to the bedside of their dying relative thanks to their cell phone? How many fathers have rushed to the hospital from their day at work just in time for the birth of their child? How many elderly people who have been become ill have been able to reach that relative they needed because that relative had their cell phone at hand?

While it is true that all of these things happened before we had cell phones and we all survived without them, there is no doubt that these life crises are better handled with the easier and quicker communication cell phones provide. And even beyond this, cell phones have saved lives. How many roadway accident victims have been able to call for assistance from the cell phones? How many hikers, joggers, cyclists, etc. have been able to call for help when injured or even accosted by a malcontent?

Still, some days i feel as if I ever hear the Black Eyed Peas again it will be too soon. Every weekend I promise myself to leave the phone behind for just an hour. But then I think, what if I need to call. So I take it. And I promise myself I will not answer if it rings. But it rings. And I think, what if it is important? So I answer. "Yes, William, I would love to meet you guys for karaoke. But no Black Eyed Peas."

Using a cell phone while driving

   can be a deadly distraction.

   In some states there may be

  restrictions or it may even be

    illegal. Texting is definitely

     a bad idea. Only use your

phone while operating a vehicle

      if it is truly an emergency.

  Otherwise, pull off or hang up!

    You might just save a life!

How do you feel about your cell phone?

  • How did we survive without them? Call me anytime!
  • It would be nice to have time alone, but I'm here if you want to talk.
  • Arrggghhhh!!!!! Do not call me unless it is an emergency!
  • Good luck reaching me! I have no cell phone. Hope I don't break down...
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