The cell phone dance

 Can you remember life before cellphones? I resisted getting one for quite some time after they first made an appearance in South Africa in 1994.  “Whatever would I need one for?” I asked myself, and besides which, I’d never be able to perfect the steps of that cell phone dance which users apparently have to learn. 🙂  My sister once related a story to me of when she and her husband were in England on business. It was before cell phones came to South Africa, so not owning one, he had hired one.  She said she was so embarrassed to be seen with him in the street, talking on this brick of a phone, complete with aerial, that she made him go into a telephone booth to make his calls.  They were in Hampton Court gardens one day when his phone rang. In my sister’s own words,  “I was mortified, and walked away, totally disowning him. It just seemed so stupid to be standing outside chatting on the phone.”

How times have changed and I don’t know how I ever survived without one.  I am very geographically challenged and often get a bit lost, so it helps tremendously to be able to call my hubby and describe exactly where I am, so that he can direct me home. (of course, there is now GPS, so I can at least find my way to various local destinations). Most people can’t function without their mobiles, and I’ve heard various one sided conversations in the supermarket,  “Was it baked beans or green beans you asked me to get?” and in restaurants, “I’m here. What time did we arrange to meet?  Oh, it was Friday; I thought you said, Tuesday.  Ok, I’ll have to go home and cook. See you Friday.”  Of course, the one phrase we all have off pat, is “I think you’ve got the wrong number.”  I said this to someone after waking from a deep sleep about midnight one Saturday.  I’d forgotten to switch my phone off, and when I sleepily answered it, someones teenager, informed me, “Okay Ma, the party’s done. You can come and pick us up now.” Maybe they’re still waiting to be picked up. 😀

Cell phones have had quite an influence on our lives. For example they’ve messed up every movie plot ever written. Those spooky thriller movies where the damsel in distress finds herself stuck all alone in a really desolate place on a rainy night, with a flat tyre and/or no gas, and the plot thickens from that point on, are no longer plausible. If she’d had a cell phone, she would simply stay  in the car,  and call the nearest garage for help, instead of having to stumble through the dark woods in the pouring rain, with her low-cut, wet T-shirt clinging to her breasts. Yes, cell phones have certainly made screen writers become far more creative. 🙂

They do have their disadvantages though. Being constantly in touch, can get very tiresome. I was once in a Barnes & Noble coffee shop, and at the next table was a guy in a business suit, enjoying a coffee and a sandwich. His cell phone rang, and he proceeded to tell his boss the biggest pack of lies. “I’m waiting to see a client. He’s busy right now, but as soon as I’m finished up here, I’ll head right back to the office.” He grabbed his sandwich and scooted out of there like a bat out of hell.

Nowadays, errant husbands have to explain to their wives why they were unreachable because their cell phones were switched off. Teenagers know that if they’re late coming home at night, dad will be on the phone demanding to know why. You simply can’t get away from the phone. So many positives and negatives, depending on which side of the fence you are.

Cell phones have revolutionised the way we communicate, and are now ‘de rigueur’ and ubiquitous. We all depend on them for social and business contacts.  Do you think that one day in the not too distant future, we will evolve into human beings with iPhone attachment? Is it possible that babies will be born with the latest model fused to their ear, and as they grow up, the model will keep updating?

Stockbrokers seem to be getting younger and cuter all the time. 🙂

Pic stolen from my son’s FB page.

69 comments on “The cell phone dance

  1. I don’t know how we lived without cell phones either, Sylvia. I always feel safer with mine along, but I do find its misuse (loud obnoxious people talking in public places) irritating. I still think a phone call should be a private thing between the caller and the recipient, so no matter what, people should take their conversations outside!

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  3. I guess the phone makes my life easier but I don’t mind if I leave home without it – it can become so invasive. You’re having a chat with someone and they feel that they have to answer their mobile when rings! Is that my phone ringing? Oh so it is. Oh well – better luck next time *gets ahouted at again – why don’t you ever answer your phone!*

    • Yes, i agree. We’ve become a slave to the telephone, fixed or mobile. have you noticed that when you’re chatting in person to someone, the person on the end of the incoming call, always gets attended to, and you are left hanging in mid air? 😀 (figuratively speaking)

      • Yes AP – people can be so rude! Fine take the call – it’s not like I made an effort to be here (says the chopped liver!)

  4. I have to say that what truly irks me is seeing people speaking on cell phones while driving… After all the horrific accidents connected to chatting and texting, I don’t get the behavior… I use my cell phone infrequently and yes, I’m one of those folk with 30,000 – 40,000 free (accumulated) minutes. I keep trying to get my provider to let me donate them to charity. I love my cell phone but not for idle chatter.

    • It’s illegal to use a cell phone whilst driving, unless it’s a handsfree, but so many people do it. It’s just crazy. 😦 I don’t talk on my cell phone much at all, but I like to use it to take photos, and check e-mails, but not when I’m driving of course. 🙂

  5. I rarely use a mobile phone. I have got one, but I always forget to…..take it with me, turn it on, recharge it. If it rings I can’t find it in time. Right now it is in the drawer of the bedside table in Italy while I am in Brisbane. I can and do live without a mobile phone.

  6. Unfortunately cell phone etiquette has to be constantly reminded…movies, etc.
    I have a friend who asks guests to leave cell phones in a basket at the door to encourage interaction with each instead of checking for messages. It’s a new technological world…a blessing and a curse.

  7. I wonder how we managed too! And while I don’t let it overtake my life, the part of my brain that I used to remember numbers, is completely dead since I became dependent on my cell phone! Love your stockbroker 🙂

    • Thanks, Madhu. He’s the cutest little chap. 🙂 I agree with you about the lack of number memory. I used to be great at keeping numbers in my head. 😦

  8. You have the cutest darn grandkids! I’m still a bit of a holdout. I have a pre-paid cell that costs me about $8 per month, but I only use it when I’m on the road or for emergencies. Simply can’t see a need to be “connected” all the time.

    • I think it depends on whether we allow ourselves to become a slave to the phone, Ron. I do think that children get far less attention, now that their parents are forever checking out their iPhones. 😦

  9. I love my iPhone. I love my iPad. But, BUt, BUT do I really have to answer it, every time it rings? That’s what voicemail is for. Do I really have to listen to a conversation that used to take place in the privacy of a person’s home, but now takes place in the middle of Macy’s? And nobody uses blinkers anymore. Too tough to talk on your cell and flip the blinker switch. Find yourself driving on both sides of the road?!?! Get off the phone! Ever need some quiet time? QUIET TIME! WHAT’S THAT?!?! Sorry have to get that call. IT MIGHT BE THE PRESIDENT! Come on! Take a break. I LOVE MY ELECTRONICS, but NOTHING is that important.
    OK, ad. You started this :-). I’m done now. 😆

  10. Funny and so true! First time I spotted one in use was in the fresh vege isle is Woolies. A very cool gent tossing lettuce around and nattering away, which had us lady shoppers falling about, pointing and laughing. I have always been grateful – my first phone looked like and weighed a brick but being on a farm was the only comm. we had. I miss it still.

    • Poor guy, you ladies probably gave him a complex for life. 🙂 Yes, living on a farm in SA, it’s essential to have contact with the neighbours and police etc.. I couldn’t quite work out whether you meant that you miss the brick phone, or the farm, or both. 😀

  11. I’m lost if I ever leave me behind. At work I keep wordpress open on it at my desk so I can’t get caught on the internet on my PC, I keep it on silent though and then miss calls after work because I forget to put the sound back on 🙂

  12. We still carry around “dumb phones”…phones that we do nothing but actually talk on 😛 I always get a kick out of watching older TV shows where they talk on cells that were HUGE 😀

    The DC

  13. Luckily (I think) I only have a plain cellphone and not one with all the apps and things. It’s sufficient for my needs.
    My very first phone was also one of those “bricks”.

  14. I mostly use my phone for messages and the Internet. It used to be so exciting when it actually rang but now when it rings, it’s usually from a private number which means someone at the office wants something from me :-/

  15. I often wonder how we all ever made it from point A to point B before cellphones, and I’ve found that I’ve developed a strange friendship with the Mapquest lady who barks out commands to me when I’m not sure where I’m going. And thank goodness the weather forecast is always at my fingertips, as well as the recipe for the dirty martini that my brother favors when he’s visiting!
    Have a wonderful weekend!

    • Hahaha. Yes, the iPhone is so versatile isn’t it? That dirty martini sounds interesting and quite potent. I just looked up the recipe on Google, and it says to serve it with ‘a mysterious smile’. 😀

  16. What a cute picture ad! I also resisted getting one and when I did get one I hardly ever used it, now quite a few years later I cant go anywhere without it 🙂

  17. You had to be prepared to be conspicuous in the early days of mobile telephony that’s for. A very nice post Sylvia and thank you (I think ;-)) for bringing back those early mobile memories.. 🙂

  18. Ooh AD,I can’t imagine my life without my cellphone. I get my emails wherever I am. It makes life easy. nice post. 🙂

  19. Well, at least your son has decent taste in phones 😉
    As for cellphones, it has changed everything. I don’t get called or messaged a lot, but my life is on my phone!! Books, tunes, notes, contacts. It’s my gateway to the world – would be a hard thing to have to miss 😉

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