I have resisted for years. I have stood strong. I have scorned the general rudeness and self-importance of cell phone users. I have given icy stares to people talking loudly enough to make it impossible for me to paste together a cohesive thought in my blissfully silent inner world. I have huffily gotten up from the table when my shared company interrupted our conversation to take a call, assuming I would raptly and agreeably sit and wait for them to finish handling something wholely non-urgent. And now I have been assimilated. Yes, I believe I can already feel a radiation tumor starting to stir behind my right ear. The NSA now has one more line for which they have no legal blocks to monitor conversations for seditious intent encoded in the mundane euphemisms of “Hi, honey, I’m at the grocery store. What do you want for dinner tonight?” and “Hey, I’m running late. I should be home in about 15 minutes.” My current phone number should follow me to my new cell phone within the next few days. And when it does, I’ll be cancelling my home phone service.
This means that I now have to make good on that vow I made to a month and a half ago. And I quote:
I vow that, one day, when I get a cell phone and I probably will eventually succumb because of changing social demands on my availability and the dwindling supply of public phones, I will keep my conversations in public places
(1) short and task-oriented.
(2) directed towards a wall or a floor or something that will absorb the sound so that other people around me don’t have to listen to it.
(3) out of situations in which others are waiting for me to finish so that they can have a prearranged interaction with me (e.g., dinner table, service counter, etc.).
Let me also add one: When not alone in the car, I will not make phone calls unless they are urgent/timely (like getting directions to where I’m going) and I have asked for and received permission from all those trapped in the vehicle with me. Let’s see how I do now that I’ve gone over to the “other side”. Anyone have any suggestions for where I could download some un-stentorian, un-obstreperous, non-“hey, everyone, isn’t my noisy ring tone cool” ring tones? As much as Bill Lumbergh would amuse me, I think something like nature sounds would be kinder. I’m thinking, “wolf howling”, “crickets chirping”, “thunder clapping”, that sort of thing. It has to be reasonably real sounding. Not some Casio “my first synthesizer” mock ups.
As for my 7 month Vonage experiment, let’s just say that you get what you pay for. $15/month seemed like a great deal except that people would call me and my phone wouldn’t ring. Or it would ring once and I’d pick up and there would be no one there. At first, I had trouble getting it set up to broadcast the calls through the entire house via the old analog lines. They sent me from initial tech support, to tech support in India, to tech support in the US, and by then the call quality was so bad I had trouble understanding the guy. I never did get call broadcasting in the house to work. So, I resorted to having only one phone that was tied to my cable modem. Then I had problems with calls getting dropped in the middle of the conversation. (Tech support fixed those, mostly.) But they never responded to any of my lesser complaints filed via the web. The customer service guy simply explained that they were growing too fast to keep up with their workload. When I called today to talk to Vonage about closing out my account, the guy asked me if I had also tried contacting my internet provider about my Vonage phone problems. I’m like, “Dude, phones are supposed to make my life easier. I have other things to do with my time than to get caught in the middle of buck-passing.”
Except I said it more diplomatically. Because I’m swell that way.