Many years ago, about 1980, my husband was issued a mobile phone for his work as Director of Security and Chief of Police for a university in Texas. It was a huge thing, the size of a brick and about as heavy. He wore both his gun and his phone in separate holsters, but it was never a concern that he would reach for the wrong one because, as long as he wasn’t standing too far from a bad guy, he could bean him with the phone and drop him flat in no time.
As the years progressed, the phones got gradually smaller. However, we as a family did not own any mobile phones of our own. They were expensive and we were of the mind that we would rather not be so easily accessible. People, including some family members, laughed at us for being old-fashioned and admonished us that we shouldn’t be so hard to reach. After all, they said, you never know when an emergency would arrive. Finally heeding their advice, I purchased my very first mobile phone nearly fifteen years ago.
Every two years, like clockwork, I would get a call from our mobile phone service provider, reminding me that I was eligible for a new phone and offering me many great updates. Time after time I told them my phone worked fine and I didn’t need any of those other things they were offering. “You mean, all you want your phone for is to make and receive calls?” they asked, incredulous. I did get a little updated a couple of years ago when my granddaughter turned 13 and got her first phone. I got a new phone with a slide-out keyboard and added a texting package.
Lately, though, I’ve been toying with the idea of getting a smart phone. My husband has one because of his job, and it looks like it might be fun. No, I don’t really need one. I’m home so much, or I’m out with my husband who has one, but I think I just want one. Which one to buy, if I go through with it, is the dilemma. My daughter has one of those big Galaxy phones. It has all the bells and whistles, and I love the screen size, but at my age, the learning curve makes me think that I won’t be able to master it without a great deal of one-on-one tutoring from my daughter who lives too far away. So I was thinking about getting an iPhone because I’ve been a Mac user for years, and the interface won’t be confusing. With this thought in mind, I was eager to see how my friend Linda who just left yesterday after a five-day visit, liked her new iPhone, the first smart phone she has ever owned. We both have iPads which look just like the home page of the iPhone, so you would think it would be a breeze to figure out.
In the car, on the way home from picking her up from the airport, we heard music. This went on for a little while before I asked what the music was. “Don’t you have the radio on?” Linda asked. When I assured her I didn’t, I suggested she might want to check her phone. Sure enough, someone had been calling her. Throughout the other five days of our visit, she would look around dazed at strange sounds, checking her phone constantly, trying to turn off buzzers and reminders and alarms, figuring out how to reply to messages or answer calls. I was exhausted just watching her. I’m starting to rethink this smart phone thing. I believe the smart thing to do would be to stay away from one.