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January 19, 2011

Cell Phones: Convenient Technology Or Unwanted Intrusion?

Yesterday I was at a laundry mat doing my weekly wash and working on some revisions for my novel. Since my laundry mat trips average about two hours I figured instead of watching the stupid television shows that are usually on while I’m there, I would use the time wisely. So I was sitting there engrossed in a section that needs heavy revision and my phone goes off. My train of thought was jarred and when I looked at the phone, it was a text message. I clicked on the message, thought about responding and decided not to. This was my little space of time to get some thing done and I was in the right frame of mind to do it, so I tossed the phone back into my purse and went on with the revisions.

The first thing I do when I get home in the afternoon is workout. I do a stress relief yoga practice just to get my mind off of work and wind down. Today I walked in the house, changed quickly and popped in my DVD. In the middle of Downward Facing Dog pose my phone springs to life with that jolly little ring tone that sounds like something out of a Disney movie. I was startled but I let it go to voicemail. I was unwinding from work and getting on the phone could mean missing that much needed unwind time.

The point of these two short stories is that in the past, as recent as two weeks ago, I would have answered my cell phone simply because it was ringing and I was in a position where I could answer it. However in the past couple of days I have realized that cell phones, with their nifty text messaging options and ability to reach us in just about any place that we go, are kind of intruding on our lives. I watch people carry out an entire transaction at the market or car repair show with a cell phone hanging from their ear. The human that they are carrying out the transaction is completely ignored while they chirp away on their phone. This is disturbing to me because I think that it is important that we acknowledge people and interact with them when they are assisting us in transactions. Some people, myself included, answer their cell phones simple because the phone rings. The ring startles us into thinking that we have to answer just because it is not a “bad” time for the call come through, meaning that we are not at work or involved in some sort of physical activity that prevents us from answering.

I enjoy having a cell phone and feel downright naked if I forget the darn thing when I go out. However, long ago before cell phones were popular, I never felt like I needed to know the moment anyone called me. Now I feel like I need my cell phone for safety but I have really only had to use a few times for emergencies. Most of the time I am talking to a pal about nothing very important which makes me wonder how much I really need this expensive piece of equipment.

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