Monday, August 2, 2010

The Experiment

So late last night while I was in the shower, where all great things are pondered, it suddenly hit me how integral my cell phone has become to my life. The children love to sit and watch Oz and I play games (or mooch the phones and play games themselves), and these days more often than not I give out my cell phone number as my contact instead of my home phone. The only people who call my home phone are my mother-in-law, my dad and his wife, my grandmothers, and Oz's grandmother.

And automated phone systems for doctor's offices.

And political callers.

Oh, and the odd actual telemarketer whom I happily tell off, hang up on, and report to the FCC for violating the Do Not Call List agreement.

Anyway, I use my cell phone a lot and so does Oz. When I was riding this train of thought in the shower, I of course began thinking about all cell phones. My dad got his first one back before cell phones were just phones. This thing had a handset with a curly cord and came in a black pleather case the same size as but thicker than a Kindle does now. Reception was crap; it only worked if you happened to be on a major highway near a fairly large city, and you were lucky if you could understand the person on the other end.

Oh, how far we've come.

Ten years ago, Oz and I were barely married and I didn't even feel the need to get a phone till the icy-cold winter day when I got a flat tire on the way to work and had to frighten a little old lady in her house when I came knocking on the door at 7:45 a.m. asking to borrow her phone to call my husband for rescue and the office to let them know I'd be late. Oz decided I needed a phone at that point, and I didn't really even try to say no. I never thought I'd use my cell phone a lot, but surprise! I never thought I'd be a texter, but yeah, I so am. I never thought I'd check my e-mail on my phone, but I do. I even keep track of my kids' monthly allowance money on a list on my phone so that if I'm at the store and they want to buy something, I know how much they have to spend and can deduct the amount on the spot.

Oz has stood in line at the Apple store the last two years to make sure he has the latest model, and I upgraded with him this year, so we both have iPhone 4s. Fancy shmancy, perhaps, but he's smart enough to sell the old ones so that we aren't paying out the yin-yang for a phone because I'm still cheap and it's still a phone, no matter what it does. Until they come with 24K gold plating and do housework, I'm not paying more than $100.

Back to my pondering.

I decided last night that I'd see if I could make it a whole day without using my phone. I didn't tell anyone because A) I only decided this at midnight last night and didn't feel the urge to tell everyone right then because while *I* am always up at that hour, most normal people aren't, and B) It wouldn't be a true experiment if everyone *knew* not to call my phone today, would it?

So how did I do?

I give myself a B.

First thing this morning, before I was quite conscious, because I am soooo not a morning person and am never quite conscious for the first 15-20 minutes I'm actually up and moving, I picked up the phone to see what time it was, check my e-mail, and see what was on Facebook. Then I remembered my experiment and put the phone down.

By noon, I'd missed a phone call (with voicemail) and two texts (I'd heard the dings), and the screen of the phone was starting to look urgent with all those numbers and details lined up. I didn't check it. I didn't even call Oz to tell him about M1 slicing his finger open with a brand-spankin'-new pocket knife that my dad had bought him at the gun show yesterday, although my fingers were itching to call and tell SOMEBODY.

Things went south when I started thinking about supper and realized I needed milk and eggs if I planned to fix fried okra. I picked up my home phone, actually dialed the 10 digits - I'm practicing for the mandatory 10-digit dialing that goes into effect here over the next year - and called my husband rather than just texting him a grocery list to get on the way home. Wouldn't have been an issue if he hadn't called back via cell to verify, but I needed the food, so I answered.

Other than that, I've done well! I re-read a book instead of playing games, and I strongly suspect I won't even have to charge my phone up tonight like I usually do on a nightly basis.

In the end, I suppose my phone isn't quite an addiction yet, but it's definitely a strong habit. My friend Mary will probably call within the next half-hour, and I haven't decided if I'm strong enough to resist the Lady Gaga ringtone that I gave her.

The experiment can end now, right? ;)


Habebi said...

Hee hee hee... A Lady Gaga ringtone for Mary is SO perfect!! lol Very cool that you tried this. I know it can be hard to put the phone away especially when it has everything you want just a couple of taps away!

But, yes, let the experiment end now 'cause we don't wanna see what could happen if things go wrong do we? ;-)

BridgyM said...

What an interseting idea. I wish I was addicted to my phone. I can't ever get the darn thing away from Shannon. I have to remind him that he can only use one entertainment item at a time either it's the computer or the phone...I should get to use one, shouldn't I? He seems to think not. I am glad to see that you were fairly successful in your endevor ;)