Senior Voice America - Tampa Bay -

Phones are so much phone-y baloney


February 1, 2021 | View PDF

I recently called my sister in Ohio to chat. She interrupted me immediately and said, "I'm on my watch" and that I would have to wait a moment. On her watch? Did she come out of retirement and get some kind of prison security job? That's not my sister's forte.

Then I realized that she was talking on her--pardon my blasphemy--"wrist watch." I have never desired an Apple Watch, an Avocado Watch, a Banana Watch, or whatever is out there, just as I never pined for a Blue Berry (not even the fruit version).

I grew up in the day of Ma Bell, of Grandfather clocks, of dial tones, telephone poles, and birds sitting on telephone wires. I worried about where birds would perch with the advent of wireless. I wanted to marry the Wichita lineman, and still do. I miss telephone booths and making a phone call for a mere dime.

I want a phone that is a phone that is a phone. Not a portable photo studio, heart monitor, GPS, flashlight, I want a phone that is a phone that is a phone. Not a portable photo studio, heart monitor, GPS, flashlight, bank, or device capable of making my funeral arrangements after I'm gone.

While the majority of the world population embraced hand held cell phones in the early 1970s, I continued circling (and circling and circling) the city for a phone booth if I had to make a call while out on the road. Phone booths eventually went the way of full service gas stations (yes, I circled the city for them also), so I reluctantly bought a cell phone (the good old flip version). At the time, my co-workers held a celebration, proclaiming that I had finally become a 20th century citizen. Ha ha.

So here we are, the year 2021, and I am still resisting cell phone technology and culture. Oh, sure, I moved on from the flip phone to an Android, and I even text, email, watch You Tube, and take photos (3,452,789,977 so far), but I am overwhelmed by technical innovation and terminology such as Face ID, A12 Bionic, nits lice eggs?), oleo phobic coating (drenched in margarine?) and the difference between X, XR, XS. And what, pray tell, is a burner phone, and why would someone want to buy a phone that is designed to keep them from using their regular phone?

Yep, phones complicate things. I want my phone to be separate from me, not an artificial appendage. I don't need Ostrich Neck; at age 74, my neck is already fighting a turkey phase. I want to sit in a doctor's office and actually converse with the person next to me, or see a person's eyes when I am sitting in a restaurant with them. I want to go to a movie and NOT see a half dozen screens competing with the movie screen, or have more reciprocation than "LOL" or "K" (for Okay) when I "communicate" with friends. Oh, for the days when a ringing phone didn't matter once you were out the door.

Jean Mlincek is a freelance writer who resides in St. Petersburg, Fla.


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