Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Jenny, don't change your number (or wait, on second thought, DO!)

Husband and I have recently been involved in some serious, complex discussions, regarding whether to make (yet another) update to our household. (Don’t worry, non-catastrophic, I promise!) This particular subject had come up before as an option, but we weren’t sure we were ready to take the step. Now, however, I think we’re prepared to just go ahead and do it. I’m talking about stepping off the (proverbial, fortunately) ledge to drop fully into the 21st century…by finally cancelling our landline… and going all-mobile, baby. (Yeah, yeah--I know we’re 13 years late…but just remember, “those who evolve gradually, carefully, and methodically in the Digital Age…avoid being gobbled up by cyber-predators”? Or some such nonsense…)

If you could stop laughing long enough, I’ll explain. (No, really, get a grip. Are you done? Good…) You see, Husband and I grew up with telephones (brace yourself...) mounted on the wall. With the receiver attached to a cord. (Sooo…primitive, right?! I also carried coins to use in a payphone  in an emergency…it was practically medieval, I tell ya…) No such thing as “text me” or “call when you’re on the way”. You had your “home number” and your “work number”, either of which could only be answered when you were physically there to pick up. And, although we both have been using cell phones for some time now, there’s something...familiar…about the process of dialing someone’s house, and leaving a voice message if they don’t answer. Similarly, for me, it’s second nature to glance down and to the right each time I enter the house, to visually check if the light is blinking on the answering machine. Maybe I enjoy the sense of tangibility this routine lends to the communication event…or I could merely be clinging to what I’ve always done in the past. (But I can change! I refuse to be...an anti-technology dinosaur! After all, cell phones have blinking alerts, too…and you can even change the colors! And there are icons on the screen to let you know what you missed…Hmm, I’m beginning to see some advantages, here…)

Then there’s a sort of personal glitch: a part of me has resisted letting go of the “old ways” for the simple reason that I don’t WANT to be accessible 24-7. Perhaps it’s my age, but I’ve never gotten comfortable conducting my conversations in public where the mass of humanity can overhear them. I’m not that lady walking through the grocery store making weekend plans while simultaneously searching for a nice, ripe cantaloupe. Or (heaven forbid, and I am speaking from experience, here) making a doctor’s appointment while in the bathroom at Kohl’s. (Ewwww, right? Does anyone think that’s okay? Reaaalllly???) Honestly, I don’t even believe I could effectively get my stuff done if my attention were divided that way. So even if my phone does ring while I’m out and about, rest assured I’m not going to answer it until I’m somewhere more private and can keep the details of my life—however pedestrian they may be--to myself.

But…when Husband and I began considering this radical move and analyzing the situation, we realized several things. The most blatantly obvious was: we’re paying each month to maintain a landline…for no good reason. I mean, we each have our own cell phone (heck, even Derek has one, now). We can easily be reached by email. And (probably the final factor that pushed us over the edge) most of the contact we receive on our home number is…robo-sales-calls, organizations requesting donations, and political propaganda. (And who needs them, anyway? Good riddance, I say! I'm such a rebel...)

Obviously we’ll have to inform the Very Important People in our little universe when the Big Switch happens—this would mean schools, work, health care providers, family and friends…but after all of the going-around-in-circles about the issue and struggling to decide, I suspect it’s actually going to be somewhat anti-climactic. Basically…we’ll have to get used to the absence of a flashing red light by the kitchen door. (Whoop-de-doo, right?) And we’ll have fewer junk calls to deflect or ignore…at least until the salespeople, charitable foundations, and government find us again, that is! (Shhhh! Help us out by guarding these precious numbers with your very lives! Now please excuse me while I go check for messages…texts...emails....etc...)

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