no more cell phone

I had a cell phone for several years but I’ve just ended my contract.

When an older friend of mine (who has lived without cell phones for over fifty years) heard the news, he said, “I know it sounds silly, but I can’t imagine not having one.”

It’s interesting how some technologies get such a hold on us it’s hard to imagine life without them. The microwave is one that comes to mind. I use one almost every day and it would really be a hassle if I didn’t have one. Other things like the PDA, TV and DVD player, along with the advent of the internet are so common now it’s as if they always existed. It’s surprising how fast we forget what life was like before they were invented.

Anyway, as I was saying, I no longer have a cell phone because I’m not too keen on entering into another contract with a cell phone company. When I was debating whether or not to cancel, I reviewed my typical usage and determined that I didn’t use one enough to justify the cost.

Now that I’ve entered the communication stone age, an interesting thing has happened – I feel free.

On the drive home from work I realized I had the car all to myself. No one could call and interrupt me, causing a struggle to get the phone out of my pocket while trying to stay on the road. Instead I sat back, relaxed and listened to the music on the radio. It was a great commute.

It’s as if I’ve been paying for a leash of sorts. I remember feeling tied down when I had to wear a pager for work or when I’ve been on-call. Even though I wasn’t technically working, it felt like I was because I could be called at any time.

I realize you don’t have to answer your cell phone whenever it rings, but when I ignored calls I would wonder what the person had wanted and if it was an emergency, so it still occupied my thoughts.

Now that I’m cell phone free, I’m not concerned about being available every waking hour and I kind of like it. I’m sure there will be times when I’ll miss having a cell phone, but people managed to live without them for years and for now, I plan to do the same.


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  1. So let me get this straight. When I would call you on your cell and you didn’t answer, it was because you were ignoring me? That hurts, Dan. That really hurts.

    Comment by jason on February 4, 2005 @ 8:10 am
  2. It is a very rare occasion when I receive a phone call, whether it be at home, on the cell, or at the office. I mostly like the ability to make outbound calls and look stuff up on the internet wherever I am. I’ve pondered cancelling my service, since I don’t get a huge amount of use out of it, but that would cut a huge chunk of usefulness out of my nifty PDA/phone.

    Comment by Levi on February 4, 2005 @ 10:08 am
  3. I’m sick of phones. I’ve been tempted to cancel the cell and the land line. People only call when they want something, and that has become real tiring. The only calls that I do look foreward to are:
    -Library informing me that the books I requested are now available (love these calls).
    -Furniture company asking when to deliver the beautiful new piece. Ahhh, new furniture.
    -Hubby calling just because.
    -Family calling to gossip.

    Although it’s impossible to avoid all types of phone communication, I have recently implemented the ~keep the cell off~ method. I don’t really care now who calls the cell and everyone who does call will receive a message telling them to leave me the bloomin’ alone. I now only use it for emergencies and I love the freedom. Now if only I could convince Levi that the land line is just as evil…

    Comment by Mel on February 4, 2005 @ 11:58 am
  4. I have resisted friends and families’ urge for me to get a cell phone. I have never owned one and I don’t feel like I need one. Everyone tries to convince the need for one by arguing “what if there is an emergency?” Well, there has always been emergencies, and there has always been a way to get help, besides enough people out there have one, a phone is always a short distance away, cell or landline. It’s not that I don’t see the advantages of having one, is that I also see the disadvantages of having one from observing others who are seemingly tied down to it. I laugh everytime my boss curses at the cell phone when ever it rings and yet he doesn’t seem to be able turn it off. What grief to feel so bonded by technology. In fact, I’m decidedly low tech when it comes to my personal life. I figure the less I have the more I get to enjoy life.

    Comment by Gloria on February 4, 2005 @ 1:16 pm
  5. Jason: Sorry, but sometimes the truth hurts.

    Levi: Internet access was never an issue for me, so that didn’t come into play when I cancelled. Things may have turned out differently if that was in the equation.

    Mel: Here here Hear hear! If someone needs help, they can come by the house like they had to before there were telephones ;)

    Gloria: Good for you. I’m beginning to think Thoreau was on to something in simplifying (not to that extreme, but along the same lines). Anyone who has a cell phone and doesn’t know how to turn off the ringer should be summarily whacked.

    Comment by dan on February 4, 2005 @ 1:38 pm
  6. I’ve had a cell phone now for probably 5-6 yrs — quite a while. As I’m rarely home, it is the main point of contact for me. I’m fairly scrupulous about who gets my number, and I won’t answer if I don’t wish to. It works out, but as Dan mentions, sometimes I always feel on call, though even without the cell phone, I still check email all day.

    I can see the niceties of not having one, but I think the pros outweigh the cons. Yes, people survived without them, but it’s just as easy to argue that cell phones and email are part of the massive economic progression — getting more work done is less time.

    Comment by Cameron on February 4, 2005 @ 1:52 pm
  7. Good for you! Mine’s usually off these days unless I need to make a call.

    If there’s one vice I’d really like to get unaddicted to, it’s the television.

    I’d never scrap the internet.

    Comment by Renee on February 4, 2005 @ 3:33 pm
  8. Oh, one more thing. A quote:
    “Most of the luxuries and many of the so-called comforts of life are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind.” – Henry David Thoreau

    And the thing is, imagine what was a “luxury” in Thoreau’s time. Not half the junk we have now. What we “need” is really, really minimal.

    Comment by Renee on February 4, 2005 @ 3:51 pm
  9. Cameron: I can understand your need for a cell phone since you travel so much. As for the economic progression, we’re all so busy hurrying around to get things done faster that I don’t think we realize what we’re giving up in the process.

    Renee: I agree – the internet isn’t on my list of things to get rid of. Thankfully TV doesn’t grab my interest all that much.

    Thanks for the Thoreau quote. It certainly makes you think about what we need versus what we have.

    Comment by dan on February 4, 2005 @ 4:03 pm
  10. Well I am sorry to admit that I have a cell phone. Just today I had the unpleasant experience of a phone going off when it shouldn’t have. I was in a building that usually does not get cell reception at all and what do you know it goes off in the middle of something somewhat important. I dont like cell phones and I agree that life will be simpler without it. AMEN!

    Comment by whaleman on February 4, 2005 @ 7:16 pm
  11. Whaleman: That’s something I failed to mention – having cell phones go off in meetings, movies and in supposedly quiet places (like the library or church). I always kept my cell phone on vibrate to avoid that problem, but I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve wished people would turn off their ringer.

    Comment by dan on February 4, 2005 @ 11:46 pm
  12. Dan — in comment 5 — I believe the phrase you meant to use was “Hear, hear” like “Listen, listen” rather than “Here, here” like pointing something out to someone, I guess. ;)

    Comment by DavidH on February 5, 2005 @ 6:50 pm

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