My parents finally ditched their landline in favor of cell phones, and now it’s impossible to get ahold of them.
They don’t keep their phones on them at all times. Or ever, really. My mom leaves hers in her purse when she comes home. My dad leaves his on the counter. Sometimes he goes to work without it.
Hell, he didn’t even have a cell phone until they dropped the landline. If he wasn’t at home or at work, there was no way to get ahold of him. He was untraceable. A ghost.
Call Me When You Get This
My parents have a different concept of the phone. It’s there for them to call people. Of course, other people try to call them from time to time. Sometimes they get pick up, sometimes they don’t. Such is life.
The phone is still a tool they use for a very specific purpose, not a little computer they pull out of their pocket a hundred times a day. I mean, they still leave voicemails.
I honestly can’t help but envy them. Like most of us, I have a love-hate relationship with my phone. Love the convenience, hate the alerts and the near constant impulse to check out what’s going on inside its infinite realm.
The idea of being unreachable is thrilling.
It’s Not A Habit, It’s Cool, I Feel Alive
Phone and internet addictions aren’t exactly news to most people. We treat our phones like our morning coffee. Sure, I’m addicted to caffeine in the strictest sense of the term, but it’s not like it’s ruining my life. I’m still getting something positive from it.
But I’m not sure that’s the case with my phone.
Books like Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other by Sherry Turkle and the The Shallows: What The Internet is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr have me worried. Worried, but still incapable of truly severing myself from my phone.
I think that’s how most people feel. There’s a vague sense of unease about our phones and the hold they have on us, but what are we supposed to do? Get rid of them? That’s ridiculous. Hang on while I tweet it.
Carr had to seclude himself in the mountains of Colorado so that he could actually concentrate enough to write a book without being constantly distracted.
I’m Not An Addict, Maybe That’s A Lie
Personally, I try to keep my phone in another room for stretches during the day, or at least leave it on Do Not Disturb while I work. Because if I feel it buzz, I’ll yank it out of my pocket before I even have time to think about what I’m doing, just as any normal, healthy person would do.
Yet, when I’ve left it on silent for an hour or two, I can’t help but get a little rush when I glance at the screen. Maybe I missed something!
Sometimes on the weekends I drive to Pere Marquette, a state park located along the Illinois and Mississippi rivers. I don’t have any service at all (thanks Sprint), but at least I get to walk through the park undisturbed. On the other hand, I can’t send any Snapchats of my hike.
If You Don’t Have It, You’re On The Other Side
My parents’ old landline is one of only three phone numbers that I still have memorized, and now it’s useless. I know my parents’ old number, my grandma’s number, and my own phone number. I know I had some of my grade school friends’ landlines memorized, but they’ve been lost to the sands of time.
It’s been strange growing up while a technology does too. I would never memorize someone’s number now. Instead, I’m considering whether I should get a phone that I unlock with my face.
My parents have flip phones. No internet connection. It’s brilliant. I hope they hold out as long as possible.
I’d hate to come home and see them in the classic smartphone pose — head bowed in contemplation of the glowing god before them, unblinking eyes squinting at the screen, their attention split between me and the phone.
The landline is looking better every day.