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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Reentering the Digital Age

After a long hiatus I have finally re-entered the world of cell phone ownership. I have a Motorola W490 for anyone who cares about the tech specs. I gave up on keeping up with phone technology a long time ago. I don't care much for having a way for people to contact me at any given moment of the day. I understand the benefits. It is great to be able to make those emergency calls when needed, or call home and ask what my wife needs me to pick up from the store on  my way home. These conveniences are nice, but they will never make up for the awkward intrusion I feel when my phone starts ringing while I am in the bathroom, or when it blares out in a quiet meeting when I have forgotten to put it on silent mode. 

 I have a real aversion to being connected all the time.  I haven't always been this way, I used to love being connected. I got my first pager back in '97 right after my mission. This was just before the telecom explosion when only pimps, doctors, and tech geeks had them. Very quickly after that I got a cell phone through work that I carried with me for a long time. I was on the thing constantly. Then I started to realized something, people on cell phones all the time are idiots! The occasional user isn't bad, I am talking about the people that can't get off the phone long enough to drive through McDonalds, or who walk around "talking to themselves" oblivious to all the people they are annoying around them. I broke my phone habit when I quit my job to go to grad school in 2003. It was a hard transition, there were many times I would go to grab my phone to make a quick call only to realize I didn't have it. Slowly the addiction subsided and at the same time the phone culture and technology passed me by. Now days there is texting, pictures, email, and anything else you can think of on your phone, but despite being connected all the time it seems to me that people are more distant than ever before. They aren't even aware of what is going on around them. I hear almost daily about accidents caused by cell phones and texting while driving. When I go out I want to connect with people. I don't need a leash connecting me to my computer. 

So despite having a cell phone I vow not to be a phone idiot. I will try to be aware of the people around me in real life...maybe I will even take the time to talk to some of them.

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