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Daily Archives: August 4, 2011

When did we all become Firemen?

While listening to a radio morning show recently, a particular conversation captured my attention: the hosts were chatting about cell phones, specifically the one host’s proclivity for them and the other’s disdain.  After much ribbing about never having his cell phone turned or even with him, the scornful one quipped, “Well … when did we all become Firemen anyways?”

And I get it. I really do understand what he was saying.

I know….  we’re connected more than we’ve ever been.  And I understand that there are many positives that come with having a cell phone.  Except for one:  I just don’t like being that connected.

I’m not on call.

I’m not a fireman, police officer, EMT, security guard, FBI agent, Nurse, Airport Controller or Surgeon.

a phone just like this still hangs in my mother's kitchen; image from bentoncountymuseum.org

Remember when the phone ringing generated genuine excitement?   In my childhood home that translated to 2 long, 1 short, for we were on a party line.  The combination announced that the call was for US and that resulted in 5 kids scrambling for the phone.  Who would it be?   A handsome suitor calling for one of my sisters?  A friend, calling with the scoop on a brother’s teenage crush?   My cousin, inviting me to go riding?  A grandparent, bus driver, 4-H leader or Hockey Coach?

Heading out to play, the screen door banging behind us, we left the house noise… in the house.  Stepping away from the porch light to play “duck duck goose” or “kick the can,” the only sounds were that of the wind, farm animals and the shouts and hollers of us kids.  That’s it.

Now … there’s phone noise all the time.  Show tunes, rap songs, TV themes and even the old standard ring ring like the traditional phone. Cell phones are on all the time and many people have given up their land line.  I can’t imagine it.  I like having a house phone with voice mail.  Why? Because having one gives me the freedom to turn the cell off. 

I remember my parents going out for the night and not only didn’t they check in on us, there wasn’t even a phone where they went!    A public phone at the Legion Hall?  That’s funny.  OK, maybe in the back office but there wasn’t much chance anyone would hear it over the polka music and laughter.

Remember piling into a car with your friends and heading out to see the “show” with promises to be home on time?  And we were.    Only if a snowstorm blew in or a vehicle broke down did we ever need to “ask” to use someone’s phone. And. often, our parents weren’t there anyways!  We’d call around till we’d find a trusted neighbor or uncle and, eventually, someone would come and pull us out, give us a jump or just get us out of whatever jam it was we were in.

Now, it doesn’t matter where I am, my ears are forced into conversations that I’d rather had been private.

  • It’s not you, it’s me.  I… just need some time to sort things out. Um .. awkward!
  • For goodness’ sake, can’t you just do this for me? It’s not like I ask you all the time to watch YOUR BABY!  JEEZ.  Even more awkward.
  • Momm! I don’t want to have to meet him, I don’t care that he’s nice, it’s weird. I’d rather go be with Dad for the weekend, C’mon!  Heartbreaking and real.

I’m grateful for modern technological advances and I enjoy dilly-dallying with them most of them but there’s s a much bigger part of me that’s awfully glad I’m not a Fireman.

Want to reach me?  I’m probably outside so, please, leave a message.  Thanks!

 * * *

Your turn: cell phones on 24/7 … like or dislike?

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Categories: Family, Life, Opinion, Personal, Rants, Technology, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

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