I finally went to the pool today. I got there, spread out my towels, put my flip flops in the shade under my chair, filled up my spray bottle with cold water, got out my current book, and then reached back in y bag for my cell phone.
IT WASN'T THERE!
So, did I just brush it off, shrug my shoulders, and begin the hot ritual of damaging my skin to a rich, beautiful tan?
NO. I frantically took everything out of my bag, then got my keys, walked briskly to my car, and frantically searched its contents. To no avail. The silvery purple phone never appeared. I debated heading back to my apartment to sear. Then I debated calling Brent to see if he knew where it was (well, duh, that wouldn't work!). So I went back to my chair, and laid down.
Maybe I panicked because I had told Brent to call me and I knew he couldn't now. Maybe I panicked "in case of an emergency." Maybe I panicked because I had planned on making some calls whilst tanning.
But I know non of these are the reason. I panicked because my society has conditioned me to do so. I panicked because this world tells me I need to have my cell phone in my hands.
What has happened to me?!
When I was in high school, very few of my peers had cell phones. My family purchased a "bag phone"-- remember, the big bulky thing that sat in the console of your car? This truly was "in case of emergencies." Later my family-- yep, for ALL four of us-- purchased ONE true, blue cellular telephone. It was the Nokia. Ya know-- the original. The phone you could repeatedly throw against a cement wall and it wouldn't break? A phone you could swim with and it would still make calls. A phone that may or, GASP! may not, have had texting capabilities.
This phone was given to the family member who was going to be on the road. "On the road" of course defaulted to the person who would be driving outside of Dekalb County limits. You know, to the land of stoplights. I knew I was not allowed to actually talk on the phone while driving, or make calls on it for that matter, but it gave me and my parents peace of mind while my inexperienced hands took the wheel.
Sidnote: I do remember breaking the "no-call-while-driving" rule once, however. On windy E Highway after dark. Like every rural-raised girl at one point in time experiences, I had a run in with some wildlife...yes, coming around a big curve a huge raccoon sprinted from the ditch and became a buzzard's treat after I did as I was raised to do and "didn't swerve." Surprisingly I was a little shaken up (not thinking about the critter, but rather about the wreck I could have had), and called mom to console me. I think she said something like, "Yeah, those feel like big suckers when they go under your car. Just keep your eyes peeled. You're fine. Now GET OFF THE PHONE!" End sidenote.
As a high school graduation present I received my first personal cell phone. Awesome.
And then the perilous spiral downward.
To "the panic" of today.
Although I do make phone calls while driving (sorry, Mom and Dad), I don't text, and try to yell at all those I see driving by (unfortunately I don't think they hear me).
But why this DEPENDENCE? Why this FIXATION? This OBSESSION?
I know I'll be find here at the pool today, listening to the "1-2-3-Jump!"s of the children. I know 98% of the time I'll be fine on the highway, and heck, I know how to change a tire!
I hate that 10 year olds have cell phones. That texting has taken over real communication. I hate that cell phone chargers have taken over "Brite-Lites" in children's rooms (remember those?). I hate hearing some one's conversation in the grocery store that should be happening in the privacy of their own home. I hate that we can be standing in the breeze under a canopy of trees, and not hear the whippoorwill chirping because we are making a phone call, or changing our ring tone. I hate that the "turn off all electronic devices" announcement on airplanes causes panic, boredom, ignoring, even anger. I hate accessing information off the web via your phone, instead of figuring it out amongst friends. I hate that some would rather hold their phone instead of their spouse or child's hand. I hate that churches have to make the announcement to turn off cells and that some simply cannot, or won't, heed this advice.
I hate that we can sit on our back porch, with our family, and the sunset and the cottonwoods, and completely miss the moment because we are "obligated" to take this call, or are watching a clip on our video phones.
Am I guilty? At some points. Am I ashamed? Absolutely. Am I worried? For my children.
I know I frustrate some people by not answering every phone call. I just don't want to be so reliant that I miss beauty somewhere important. I don't want to be so "connected" that I fail to speak to those around me.
I would like to say I have no flaws in cell-phone etiquette, but by my panic earlier I'm afraid it would be too obvious that I'm lying. But that panic awoke something in me I needed to revisit.
It awoke a simpler time. A slower time. A better time? I know there is no going back...but if the next time you call and I don't answer, I may be sitting on my porch reading a book, or enjoying supper with my husband, or maybe, I've just turned off my phone to go for a walk.
Your thoughts? (And please, don't text them to me :)