My cell phone service has gone down, mysteriously. But that’s life with AT&T. Sometimes I get messages two or three days late. I’ve even missed seeing friends because of the delay. When I call the company, they act surprised, and courteously note the problem. But recently I read that this is a chronic problem for AT&T, as they are overloaded with iPhone commitments.
I’m not complaining too hard today, because I have a love/hate relationship with my cell phone, and I’m in hate mode. I’m glad it is quiet. The day feels slower and more peaceful without it. It is wet, moody weather. I imagine a satellite has been knocked from the heavens.
I love my cell when I am feeling lost. Literally. If I’m on a lonely country road, trying to find a driveway, or an unmarked street, it is great to be able to dial my friend for directions. If I’m in a crowd and can’t find the face I want, I can dial and--oh! There you are! Across the street! Just wait for me! If I’m in a store faced with a rack of choices, blue, green, pink or red, I can call my sister and ask her which sweater to buy. And if I’m feeling truly lost, lonely, abandoned, sad, or simply helpless, I can call--from anywhere in the world, even the beach--to hear a loving voice.
But when I’m feeling found, safe, secure, and happy, I often resent the intrusion of a cell phone. Not because I don’t want to hear from my friends and family. I do. But I don’t like to feel guilty when I can’t call back immediately--and, as with email, people expect prompt replies from cell messages. It is very different from old-fashioned voice mail on old-fashioned landlines. Cell phones speed life up way too much.
What’s worse, though, is how I’ve come to feel strange if I leave the house without my cell. I don’t want to be reached when I’m taking a long walk on the beach, but what if….what if a son is looking for me? And what if I fall, and need help? Cell phones conjure up big ‘What if?’ fantasies, and those rattle me, because when you pull a ‘what if’ thread, your peace of mind can come unraveled. When you’re heading out for a walk, the last thing you want to be worrying about is getting hit by a car, and the only reason you are worrying about it is that you have the means to call for help, but only if you decide to take the phone with you. Crazy-making. It is getting to be like carrying an umbrella. If you have it, it won’t rain. If you have your cell, nothing bad will happen. Nuts.
And what’s worst of all is getting no messages, and feeling unwanted. You can’t win, with a cell phone. Best to leave home without it.