Aegrescit medendo (Cell phones)

December 4, 2007

My wife and I don’t have cell phones.
At all.

You’d think that given my profession and people our age these days, that we would both have cells phones with some kind of super minute plan. You know what the worst part of it is? We used to have cell phones until we cancelled them due to expense. How do you have access to that kind of technology and then give it up?

Everyone has a cell phone these days, little 9 year-old kids, 95 year-old grandparents. I admit they are an extremely useful piece of technology, and they allow you to do things that were not possible only years ago. Look at the latest phones and you’ll see internet access from cell towers, messaging, email, video, music, etc all without the hassles of actually having a laptop or desktop around. I think mobile computing is definitely something coming in the future.

Still, I think there are some very important lessons the *lack* of cell phones can teach us:

1. Be on time
Before cell phones, could you call and say you were running late? No. You either showed up, or you were late. This is also a double-edged sword, because there are valid times to be running late and a cell phone definitely allows you to be able to give warning for that sort of thing. However, not being able to call ahead and say you will be late automatically commits you to arriving at the agreed-on time, no “5 minutes late because I was just lazy”.

2. You are not Facebook or Myspace
You are not the central hub for communication, everyone will not text message you everything they’re doing all day long. Stop gossiping. (May or may not apply to you)

3. Plan things in advance
No more can you call ahead and drop by with only a few moments notice. Now you must plan when to arrive somewhere. Now, of course it is nice to be able to call someone when in the neighborhood, but I still think that not having this ability, even for just a short while. Can teach you how to better plan for future events.

4. I am sorry work, but once I leave you, you can’t call me
That’s right, leave work at work. Yes, I know there are many workplaces that require you to be on-call, available all hours and all that stuff. Sometimes it is nice to not have work call you while you are out shopping. Having only a home phone requires someone to (gasp!) leave a message if you aren’t there.

5. Focus on driving
Of course, this doesn’t apply to everyone, this only applies to the 2-3 people daily who cut me off, run red lights, don’t signal and generally drive like they’ve just taken 3-4 times the recommended dosage of night-time cough syrup.

Lots of other things come to mind also, but these are the ones that stick out the most to me. On the other hand, having a cell phone definitely has it’s advantages (and yes, there are many of them). Driving long distances is one of them (what if you run out of gas? Definitely nice to have a cell phone then).

I’m not trying to make the point that cell phones are evil or anything, I’m just trying to share what I think you can learn by going without them for a short while. Think about how much you rely on a cell phone and how you would handle not being able to use it for a while, then you’ll understand the point I am trying to make.

And yes, we probably will get them again in the future. Eventually.

What do you think about cell phones? Necessary evil? Should parents be giving their pre-teen children cell phones? What age is a good age for a cell phone?

posted in cell, cell phones, non-technical, phone by Lee

5 Comments to "Aegrescit medendo (Cell phones)"

  1. Cell Phone: Plans, Prepaid Phones, Gadgets & Reviews » Aegrescit medendo (Cell phones) wrote:

    […] unknown had some great ideas on this topic.You can read a snippet of the post here.Everyone has a cell phone these days, little 9 year-old kids, 95 year-old grandparents. I admit they are an extremely useful piece of technology, and they allow you to do things that were not possible only years ago. … […]

  2. Kephas wrote:

    There definitely are some advantages to not having a cell phone. As far as little kids having them, I don’t think they need them. They shouldn’t ever be somewhere where you don’t know where they are, or couldn’t get in contact with them. I suppose parents could always go the route of the prepaid phone that was for emergencies only. But even still it seems that would be more for the parents peace of mind, then the child’s safety.

  3. Delilah Hinman wrote:

    I think it’s okay for teenagers to have cellphones but anything younger than 13, why would they need one? Sounds like an extra expense. So far, I’m enjoying life without cell phones. When you have them you make yourself available to everyone all the time, but when you have a landline it actually happens that you’re not available sometimes. Like you pointed out, Lee, people will just have to *gasp* leave a message.

  4. Legit wrote:

    And now you know why I didn’t have a cell phone for so long. In the end the only reason I got one was because of interviewing anyways.

  5. Marie Brewer wrote:

    I enjoyed reading your post on the benefits of not having cell phones and I agree with you and encourage you to continue posting your observations to get to know you better and I have come to see that you and I actually agree on a lot of things. I thank God that my daughter married you!!!

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