Saturday, January 14, 2012


I must have been one of the last hold-outs when cell phones started to become omnipresent.  This may seem strange, considering that I work in the technology sector.  The thing is, I don't agree that being reachable at all hours wherever I happen to be and no matter what I happen to be doing is necessarily a good thing.  Even back in the day when cell phones were still considered "car phones", I didn't particularly want one.  For one thing, I was never much into status symbols (which is mostly what they were back then) and my attitude was "Anybody who's trying to reach me will simply have to wait until I get to where I'm going".

I finally did cave in and got a cell phone, when I decided that having one in the car, for use in emergencies, might not be such a bad idea after all, but my cell phone is a very basic one.  It's not a "smart" phone.  I have no texting plan.  I have a minimal plan that gives me 60 minutes of calling time per month and I never use all of those.  The phone stays in my car at all times; I don't carry it around with me.  If I'm not at home or at work or in my car, then I'm out doing something and I probably don't want to talk to you (unless I happen to be with you, of course).

The first cell phone that I bought had no camera.  My current one does because it's impossible to find a cell phone these days that doesn't have a camera.  But I'm a simple soul.  I don't want to take pictures with my phone, or shoot video, or play music, or send or receive e-mail.  I just want a phone, plain and simple.  If I want to take pictures, I have a camera for that.  If I want to play music, I have an iPod and a CD player for that.  I just want my phone to be a phone.

I'm particularly irritated by people who constantly have their noses in their smart phones or iPads.  The implication is that my company isn't quite stimulating enough so they need some other distraction to stave off the boredom.  I know people who can never seem to just sit and watch a show or a movie on TV.  They always have to be texting or e-mailing someone at that same time.  Some call this "multitasking".  When did doing three things at once become a good thing?  I think there's a lot to be said for focusing all your attention on one thing at a time. 

I've noted before on this blog that I refuse to be assimilated into the Facebook continuum, and I continue to resist.  I don't need to know what every passing acquaintance is up to at every moment, and I don't need everybody knowing what's happening in my life.  In a world so outwardly obsessed with privacy (even your garbage collector probably has an official "privacy policy" for you to review if you only ask him), we sure do willingly surrender our privacy pretty easily these days. 

My daughter once posted on her Facebook wall that, on her birthday, the first thing that her grandmother did was to call her a slob for not brushing her hair.  I didn't read this myself.  It got back to me via an in-law who heard it from a second cousin.  I couldn't for the life of me understand why Jessica would want to broadcast that sort of thing to the world.  It reflects poorly on both her grandmother (who comes across as an insensitive nagging harpy) and herself (a slob who apparently doesn't brush her hair, not to mention a whiner).  I feel justified in mentioning it on my blog now, considering the whole world apparently already knows anyway (yes, I know you what you were thinking!)

The internet and wireless technology have made the world a much smaller place.  Global communication can be almost instantaneous.  This has its advantages.  But, in such an environment, we need more than ever to be mindful about what information we're broadcasting to the world.  There are some things that are best kept to ourselves, or at least within intimate circles.  And there's something to be said for unplugging from the collective (at risk of overusing an admittedly nerdy Star Trek analogy) from time to time and taking time for some reflection, meditation or even just some intimate one-on-one time with a close friend or loved one.