Sunday, February 17, 2008

my phone's on vibrate for you ...

... and I don't know how to switch it to ring.

It's true, I am a complete techno dweeb when it comes to cell phone use and maybe that's why I never carry one and why I despise them so. They know they've got the upper hand.

To continue yesterday's tale of venturing into the city's busiest mall on a Saturday (can you tell this is still causing me mental trauma?), my lovely niece asked for my cell number so that she could find me if we had trouble locating each other in the mall from hell. So I dragged the phone out of the junk drawer, found the number and relayed it to her, recharged it and put some money on the account, and we
headed off for the lunch date.

We knew we were in trouble as we approached the mall, by the
numbers of cars driving around in circles, looking for that non-existent parking spot. So naturally we joined in the parade, and I have to say it was one of the most futile exercises in mindless carbon usage, senseless exhaust spewing, and pilgrimages to the altar of conspicuous consumption that I have ever participated in. I am ashamed to tell you that I drove around that stupid parking lot for at least 20 minutes before I came to my senses and listened to the Resident Offspring's suggestion that we head several blocks away and park on the street, so we could walk to our lunch date.

But as we were driving over there, I realized that we were quite late and that K might be trying to find us, so as we were stopped at the light I reached into my purse and pulled out the accursed phone, intending to give it to the Resident Offspring to see if we had missed any calls because of the blasting tunes, since I can never see what the hell is written on those minuscule screens. But when I opened my purse the damn thing almost jumped out. It was on vibrate and dancing around with joy that somebody was actually phoning it (a first, I think).

To make a long story only slightly longer, we did manage to find my niece amongst the 765,874,743 mall zombies who were milling about taking up my oxygen, something I am almost sure we would not have done without her phoning to tell us where she was.

But it is disturbing to me that we all seem to be so dependent upon this cursed technology for completing the simplest tasks anymore. Generally I quite like not being in touch for a few hours when I go about my chores. And there is a price to pay for this technology. I mean, how often do people upgrade their phones and what do you think happens to the discarded ones that aren't quite cool enough anymore? Not to mention that tower going up in your neighbourhood which you aren't too thrilled about. And although the jury is still out on the health implications of cell phone radiation, intuition tells me that less is better.

But maybe I am just being an old Luddite because I can't figure out how to turn the damned vibrate off the phone. Seriously, I can't.

What sort of relationship do you have with cell phones?

Vibrate - Rufus Wainwright


668 aka neighbour of the beast said...

i find the constant need to be in touch rather intrusive in my own life. luckily i have trained most of my friends in the fact that i will go "offline" at times.

Gifted Typist said...

Eek, not only are you a zombie, but you're a witch too. That is the column I'm writing for Friday

Tanya Espanya said...

Yeah, I have problems too. I can't imagine how I lived before I had the cell phone and the internet (cradling the laptop while watching tv) and always feel weird when I unplug. But then it feels good...

I'd like to get an old-timey ringing sound for my phone instead of the stupid groovy tune I have now. What does that say about me?

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I have always been old school about my availability, 668, so people are well used to the fact that they will have to call my home phone and leave a message. I feel like a caveman at times, but it's great for my sense of freedom.

I've been reading your mind, Gifted Typist! Before long we're going to be finishing each other's sentences.
I can't wait to read your take in Friday's column.

I'm a big old hypocrite, Tanya because I am completely dependent upon my laptop. I'm just picking my battles.
I'd kinda like to get an old dial-type desk phone actually. Black, of course.

Todd said...

when I first got my mobile device it was so that work could reach me in case people wanted to give up a shift - which they were prone to doing very often. I soon gave up my landline, but then realized that mobile plans suck - you barely get to talk - or if you do, you are paying a fortune. I rarely use my phone now. But I love having it just in case.

I also put off falling into the text message crowd, but it is quite handy as well sometimes.

My first cell phone is sitting beside me right now - it acts aas my alarm clock. I would have my second phone with me right now too, but it has been lost somewhere along the Toronto Transit system. So, my third cell phone now takes the place of my alarm clock #2 [seriously I need both or else I have a tendency to sleep too late].

Vibrate - Ring... Shouldn't that be in the volume controls - sound settings?? You may be better off - when you got the phone you may have downloaded some obnoxious ringtone that you've forgotten about.

Toccata said...

I am so with you on the cell phones. People get annoyed that I don't have one and when I point out that we didn't always have this technology and we got along just fine they just roll their eyes and mutter rude words under their breath.

I am looking forward to next Friday's column by gifted typist.

Karen said...

I hate cell phones. Isn't it funny how we need all this technology (cell phones, blackberries, cars that park themselves, the internet, etc) and yet just a generation before us managed to do without. And why are we always in such a rush to do everything?

I missed most of a doc on CBC (Passionate Eye) yesterday that I wanted to see about a family who decides to go without OIL for a year (and it's byproducts like plastics, etc) but managed to catch the end - It was called Recipes for Disaster. While they found they couldn't do without things like toothpaste, they found they slowed down their lives and spent more quality time together. I think more people should slow down and enjoy life. Myself included.

mellowlee said...

I should have my cell phone welded to my head. I use it a LOT. Pssst. Press and hold the * key to turn vibrate off ;O)

Allison said...

"Generally I quite like not being in touch for a few hours when I go about my chores."

My mom says that all the time and then when something serious happens and we need to reach her its so frustrating!

I only got a cellphone in the past couple of years, and yes have become reliant on it, for keeping in touch easier and I'm glad I have it walking late at night sometimes. But it can be annoying sometimes and it gets turned off. But rarely, I am a techno junky. :)

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Todd, you are giving me too much credit by assuming I would know how to download a ringtone. Seriously, I am that lame.
It sounds as though you sure use your phones though, if they are acting as alarm clocks. See, I didn't even know you could do that.

I have never had anyone be all rude about my phonelessness, Toccata, but people certainly have expressed shock and disbelief. To be honest, though, I rarely use my home phone either.

Yet, I think we are now geared into such a fast-paced lifestyle that slowing down would be hard to achieve, Karen. And I really do believe that our attention spans have shortened as a result of all the multi-tasking we do. Recipes for Disaster sounds like a fascinating program and I really doubt I could ever pull that off, our need for oil is just so pervasive.

Hey, thanks for the tip, Mel! I'm going to try that, seeing as I couldn't find a settings option anywhere on the menu. You cell phone junkies are pretty handy.

I can see that being a problem, not being able to reach your mom in an emergency, Al, and I guess I am fortunate that has never come up with me. However, even if I did bring the phone with me (and remembered to turn it on), I wouldn't hear it ring because it's on vibrate! Oi and vey.
Walking at night though, there it serves a real purpose.

Anonymous said...

Hey Ranting Luddites,

"Have technology work for you and not you work for technology" 2008 BB

I believe I did mention to not go to a mall but to have a IKEA EXPERIENCE instead. Much more relaxing, Swedish meatballs, potatoes and that purple jam like stuff, comfy chairs, beds and all sorts of cool stuff. Hey I could spend hours in Ikea,.....oh I did already.

Mall shopping reminds me of the movie about all those zombies, can't remember the name of the movie. Females dragging rather unreluctant males up and down the mall looking for whatever while the males are just holding on for something later.....

I must admit and rather proudly I must say, that I am a techno person. I know that I should not even mention this as a male but reading the %$% manual does help. I must read it under the covers with a flashlight so the rest of male nation does not find out!

I also watched the CBC documentary.It was okay but a little unrealistic. The best part was when he was rowing his yacht across a huge waterbody to get to the cabin instead of using the gas motor. But what it does do is it shows the huge footprint that we (especially North Americans) are all having on this planet. Perhaps it might stimulate people to change.

I'll give you a call on your cell later:)


Barbara Bruederlin said...

You could take after that guy who lived in IKEA for several weeks while his apartment was being fumigated, Bruno. I've thought of doing the same, actually, except for the hordes of zombies pushing their carts around.

And don't worry, your manual reading secret is safe with us. Nobody will ever find out.

Beth said...

My coffee shop has a discarded cell phone bin; they give the phones to charitable organizations.

My cell is the only phone I have. Can't live without it. That said, I don't answer when I'm busy or not in the mood to chat.

BeckEye said...

That happened to me once. I was so pissed that I actually had to get out the MANUAL to figure out how to switch from vibrate to ring-tone. Turned out I just had to press and hold the # button. I see Mel's says hers is the * button. Why do these damn phone companies have to make things complicated? Pick a button and make it the same across the board! Auuuuuughhh! Can you hear me now??

Actually, I have my phone on vibrate now on purpose. I got sick of hearing it ring.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

That's a good idea, what your coffee shop does, Beth! I like it there already.

And debit machines, too, Beckeye, why the hell can't they standardize the keypads? I actually found the ring/vibrate function on the phone - it was on the side, weirdly enough.

Jas B said...

I have this old Nokia from almost 5years ago. Haven't upgraded in any way, its simple, it works and most of all it still keeps itself together even after I let it fall out of my bag zillion times over. :)
And I don't usually answer it if it is not from someone I know. I think I have used it more as an alarm clock than a cell phone. Although it comes in handy when I am travelling.

Barb, you have been tagged. See details on my post. Thanks.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Any good phone will be able to withstand a few hundred bashes against the ground, Jas, sounds like yours is a keeper.

A tag you say? I shall be over to check it out.

phlegmfatale said...

I always say it-- one of the charms about leaving the house USED to be getting away from the motherfucking telephone. Now one has to pretend one "forgot" it. Sheesh. Umbilical. It's an electronic leash.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I SO hear you on that one, sista! Fortunately, I am now expected to "forget" the phone, Phlegmmy, which is fine by me.

Deb said...

Ha, you just described EXACTLY what happens every 8 months when I need to use my phone. The only problem is - they keep disconnecting my number because it's deemed inactive after 6 months. Twice now. So it's a numberless phone (again).

I hate cell phones and also can really relate to going about chores without being bothered by a ringing, vibrating machine. Don't call us we'll call you works for me. I just wish they still had pay phones, for when you need a phone.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Exactly, Deb! They are taking out all the pay phones, which almost forces you to get on the cell phone track. Bastards.

justacoolcat said...

I don't think you are supposed to take it off vibrate. If one was to take their phone off of vibrate, well what would be the point of keeping it in their . . um, forget it.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

heheheheh, JustA!

Anonymous said...

Only you could make such a tortuous drive around the lot sound so amusing which I know from recent experience sitting in traffic is anything but. When it comes to writing you have that sine quo non.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Awww shucks, Leazwell, you are too kind! And your commute sounded far far worse than mine was.