Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A Sigh for the good old Days

I am not anti-technology, just picky about which technology I consider necessary for myself. I hate cellphones. I once posted about how users of those cellphones make a nuisance of themselves in public. For myself, I don't need to be accessible 24/7 at the touch of a few buttons--I'm entitled to time that is phone call free. And yet...

Where have all the payphones gone? It used to be that there was a payphone on every street corner, in every large store. No more. The other day I forgot my cellphone charging on the kitchen table--what else is new--and found myself having to make a call home. I searched the store I was in for a payphone--not a one. I searched the rest of the strip mall--not a one. I offered to pay the person behind the customer service desk to make a call but it was no go. I ended up having to drive home to get the information I needed. My kids pointed out to me that having the cellphone is no good if I don't carry it with me. So I dutifully put the phone into my purse, where it promptly got buried.

Today I needed to make a phone call again while away from home. "Aha!" I thought. I have my cell phone with me. Unfortunately, it was flashing "battery needs charging" and died before I could make my call. And no, not a public phone booth in sight. Couldn't we have some kind of happy compromise? I cannot be the only person on the face of the earth who is "cell phone challenged." Off with the old and on with the new doesn't take into consideration that some of us were perfectly happy with the old.

My cell phone is now back charging on the kitchen table. Want to bet I forget to unplug it and take it with me? Maybe some of those electronics geniuses could spend some of their time inventing a battery for those cell phones that doesn't need to be charged more than once a month. I think even I could handle that.


concernedjewgirl said...

There are also car chargers. Maybe you could get one for emergencies. Usually if someone asks me to use my cell phone I let them do it. So the clerk in the store was just being impossible.

Knitter of shiny things said...

There was a comic in the comic strip "Zits" that had the main character, a teenage boy named Jeremy, complaining to his dad about his cell phone dying, and saying how he wished that there could be phones around that people could pay to use (not realizing the existence of payphones).

I remember in high school when our payphone went from being 25 cents a call to 35 cents.

I tend to always have my cellphone with me and feel a bit naked without it (when it's not Shabbat or chag, of course). I have a few extra chargers, so I can take one with me when I travel. (It also helps that multiple members of my family have phones that use the same charger.) And I always have it charge every night.

But if your phone ran out of batteries after not being used, even if it was on, it might mean that your battery is dying (or perhaps that you have a really old phone). If it's a continuing problem you might want to bring it to the store where you bought it and see if they can replace the battery.

Anonymous said...

It's an unwritten law. If I have no need for my cellphone then it is fully charged with a strong signal. If I had to have it then 1)I have no bars and can't use it or 2) I'm in a dead zone with no reception.

Orthonomics said...

I am cell phone challenged. I don't need to be reached 24/6. I don't like listening to everyone chatting on their phones. I don't like being interupted by cell phones when out with a friend. In other words, this is a piece of technology I can do without.

Fortunately, or unfortunately every single person in the world seems to have a cell phone and the few times I have "needed" one, I've been able to make a call from someone's cell phone.

Lion of Zion said...


"There are also car chargers."

i have a car charger for everything. even my shaver. (after it died while i was shaving en route to teaneck for shabbat)


don't be such a luddite. sometimes technology is good. it's good to have a cell phone for emergencies and convienience. doesn't mean you have to yap on it all day or give everyone the number.

although i'll say this. i'm about 10 years older than my classmates. for the most part we get along fine and the age difference doesn't really factor in (thanks to my youthful good looks and ultra-hip personality). but there are nonetheless techno-cultural differences. especially with the cell phone. i'm a big user of it, but i think its dumb to waste minutes on it at home so i turn it off. my friends don't understand this and 4 years later continue to call me on the cell when they know i am home. they want to know why i don't carry it at home, and i try to explain that i'm not such a macher that i need it on my belt 24/7 (i also hate instant messaging, which they use a lot.)

finally, i have a friend who just got a cell phone. (even his wife, who had one for a while, only had a 30 minute plan). 2 years ago he had a job interview and the secretary called his home number (the only one on his resume) on the day of the interview to change the time. his wife answered and told her he doesn't have a cell phone and has no way to get in touch with him. she said, ok, page him or email him on his blackberry. she said he didn't have these either. the secretary just couldn't understand why someone so technologically primitive was applying for a computer job in the financial world in the first place.

Anonymous said...

We have a phone with an answering machine at home. If I'm not there you can always leave a message. If I'm out I'm doing things I need to get done, not anxiously awaiting a call to talk about nonesense. For family emergencies my husband is in his office all day and reachable. Only my kids and my husband have my cell phone number and I have it blocked under caller ID so no one else is getting the number.

And here is another thing. When I'm out of the house I'm usually driving the car someplace and I sure won't talk while driving. They should change the NY law to outlaw any talking while driving--you think because the phone is on a headset so your hands are free that that makes for a safe driver?

Anonymous said...

Weird that you picked today for this posting. I carry a cellphone but I agree that it becomes a nuisance when people use it to talk in places where they have no privacy.

Today I had another two reasons why you should only talk on those cells if you absolutely have to. I'm driving on Avenue J and a van pulled into a parking space suddenly had the door open and the driver was on a cellphone talking and ignoring traffic completely as he stepped straight into traffic. I slammed on the brakes so hard my teeth knocked together. You could hear the screech of brakes behind me. The talker was oblivious to it all.

Then there was the mother crossing the street with her kids. She had five kids with her. She was holding on to one with one hand and was talking animatedly on a cellphone in the other hand. The other kids wandered across the street behind her somewhere and moving in and out of the cross street traffic. She stepped up on the curb and didn't even check where the other kids were. The were still crossing when the light turned and that stupid women was still yelling into her cellphone. A woman grabbed the mother by the arm and turned her around to see what was going on. And the mother? She yelled at the kids to hurry up and went back to her phone conversation. yeah, yeah, so this was one stupid person, only you see this all the time on the Avenue.

Anonymous said...

I'm with you Anonymously. J is a disaster waiting to happen. And it's worse now that school is out. Young mothers jaywalk and cross at the crosswalks with kids somewhere around them, and they all seem glued to their cell phones. And yeah, the younger guys do the same thing. On the phone and darting out between two cars to cross in the middle of the block. I won't drive down it any more. I don't want to be there when someone gets hit by a car because they think that calling it "multi-tasking" is going to protect them from injury.

katrina said...

ProfK: I think they make emergency battery chargers for when you forget your cell phone, your car dies, your dog forgets your name, etc. Of course, it's just one more thing to carry in your purse . . .

Anonymous said...

Anonymous/Devorah - please don't blame stupidity on cell phones. It's like any gun people blaming guns for murder. There is time and place for everything and I don't want to suffer for other people's stupidity.

I rarely use my cell to make calls. It's mostly for emergencies and my job. Why? I like landlines better. The sound is better and I don't have to worry about bars.

Again, cells are very useful. Back in the '80s and early '90s when they called me from work an entire house would wake up and an only alternative was a beeper which requires a call back, which is not that easy 3 o'clock in the morning. Now, they call me on my cell and the rest of the family sleeps peacefully.

There are a few reasons why yonger people prefer to call a cell rather then a land phone
1. It guarantees that they are calling you, not another member of a family who may forget to pass a message.
2. If late at night it won't wake a household.
3. Guarantees privacy. You know it is impossible for someone to pick up an extension phone and listen in to your conversation.

Anonymous said...

In NYC there are still payphones on the street (though they're not as common). Do you know why they're still there? Valuable advertisement space! In fact, the phone companies would let the phones go into disrepair and keep selling the ad space on the sides (thus making a greater profit margin). The city had to pass laws to force the phone companies to fix the phones or face fines.

The times they are a'changing...