Phoning it in


As related in Sunday’s column, yours truly finally got a cell phone.

Anyone care to react to this momentous decision?

I’m going to assume that very few people reading this don’t have one, but if you don’t, why not? And if you do, can you imagine waiting until 2011 to get one? And, one and all, what’s your biggest pet peeve about cell phones and the people who use them?

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  • shirley wofford

    I’m pretty much like you, David, regarding change and keeping up with new innovations. My car is 11 years old, and I still refuse to use an ATM card. The lady at the bank insisted on sending me one, and I should not have agreed to it, because it is still sitting in my closet, unactivated. I will not use an ATM card, until they lock the doors of the bank, and refuse to let me in.

    I take a cell phone with me when I go out, just in case I have an emergency and need to call some one. But, I do not turn it on for someone else to call me, unless wherever I am going involves a grandchild. Last fall, I went to the grandson’s soccer game in Ontario, and just as I was sitting down in my soccer chair to watch the game I heard my phone ringing in my purse. It was my daughter telling me that I was on the wrong side. I would have discovered that on my own, within minutes.

    I have the cheapest contract plan with Verizon that one can have–$20/mo for 50 minutes and special night and weekend minutes. It has no camera or other bells and whistles on it. I usually put about two minutes a month on it, and don’t really need it, but I’m told if I cancel it, my credit rating will go down. I gave my husband a pre-pay phone for his birthday about three years ago. It does have a camera on it–but he only uses his for emergencies too. I have found out that if one has never gotten involved in a cell phone contract, the pre-pay way is really the cheapest way to go.

    During the past month of December, I found out why I really don’t need mine, because it costs too much when I really need it. Our land line was down about the whole month of December, and I had to go to the libraries to get my daily computer fixes. I used my cell phone to call the toll-free number for Verizon customer service, and was kept on hold for 40 minutes. I thought a land line toll-free number was also toll free on the cell phone. I was just floored, when I got a cell phone bill for $96+. I called the wireless customer service, and got a very nice rep who explained the cell phone facts of life to me. She graciously gave me a good credit off the bill, and I told her I would never do it again (in fact, if I ever have land line trouble in the future, I will go to the Verizon store and use the phone there).

    I once went to a movie at the theater in the Riverside Hotel in Laughlin, Nev., where I had to keep asking a patron who was carrying on a cell phone conversation, during the movie, to please turn it off.

    Since you ride the Metrolink occasionally as I do, I know that you have heard about the daily plans and weekend hijinks of at least one person sitting near you. The other night at El Pollo Loco, while I was waiting for my husband’s take-home meal, I heard all about this guy’s trip to wherever, and the arrest and everything else, with a few F words thrown in.

    This is already too long David. I have enough cell phone stories to fill a book. I hope you enjoy your new cell phone (ha-ha).

  • Dennis

    Hi David,

    I was surprised that you took that picture at 3:03 instead of 9:09. But then I realized that 3 squared is 9, 0 squared is still 0, and the other 3 squared is 9 again, thus equaling 9:09. You’re so clever!


    [Er, yes, aren’t I? Ahem. — DA]

  • Joey Catuara

    This is actually in response to Shirley, and anyone else who is computer literate and uses a cell phone a lot. I gave up my land line, but found, like Shirley, that business calls tend to include a lot of hold time. So I started using Google to make free phone calls on my computer, whenever I have to deal with a business. Try it out – it works great.

  • Will Plunkett

    I liked the palindrome 303, too.

    As a professed pessimist, I always seem to see negativity first. But I’m not a “what if this happens…” emergency type of pessimist. Why don’t I have one?

    – I can be reached via home phone or a work, or with email

    – I don’t want to become the “I’ll just fix it later/at that time” person, instead of planning ahead or being prepared (e.g. standing in the store reading off packaging names; everything’s now an emergency if it’s remotely different than thought, expecting someone to take my call/text at that exact moment, etc.)

    – face-to-face communication teaches socialization, facial and body language cues that a screen and text cannot (and should almost always take precedence over phone calls), which may be why so many people aren’t able to really understand others

    – don’t want to keep checking to see IF someone called or texted me, then get frustrated when/if not

    – I try to remember what I need to know, rather than just check it online whenever

    I plan on being a part (apart?) of that 7-9% for a long time.

  • Ramona

    I’m with Shirley. I have a “throw-away” cell phone with no contract and I add time every 60 days. Monthly cost? $15.

    I turn it on when I leave the house in case of an emergency – mine or someone else’s.

    I use it to make long distance calls because it’s free unlike the land line.

    I understand that some folks are addicted to their cell phones to keep in touch with Facebook, Twitter and the like but I prefer to keep in touch with people face-to-face. Call me old-fashioned or a Luddite but I feel the freedom from constant contact is important. And you can call me hard hearted too because I really don’t care about your minute-to-minute moods or where you are shopping.

    And if you are standing or seated next to me, I don’t care to hear about your personal life, steamy though it may be.

    Good luck, David. May the force be with you and help you avoid the dark side.

  • DebB

    I held out until Fall 2009, when I was going on a road trip alone. I bought a pre-paid phone for emergencies only, and still turn it on only when I’m away from home. Since I work at home, that’s not very often.

    My niece, on the other hand, feels the need to be connected 24/7. She’s living with me while attending college, and I hear her sending/receiving texts while she’s in the bathroom, during mealtimes (that’s really annoying!) and even the middle of the night! Her thumbs fly over the keypad so fast, it’s hard to believe she can say anything of value.

    It’s become very common to hear people talking on the phone all around you — the train, the market, walking down the street. But I find it really funny that people will talk to friends even while using a public restroom. I’d just as soon not hear that kind of background noise, thank you!

  • Dee

    So what if the Middle East is on fire.

    So what if the price of oil is skyrocketing.

    So what if food prices are going up.

    But you with a cell phone…that’s a sure sign of the Apocalypse. 😉

    [At least my number doesn’t have a 666 in it. — DA]

  • Ted Melendez

    My pet peeve is people comparing cellphones, what is better an Android or iPhone. Ok you have a iPhone you have “money” good for you.

  • dave

    303 tipped sideways is MOM…..don’t forget to call her.

  • Kristy

    I seriously cannot comprehend my life without my cell. I’ve had it almost 9 years now (parental units got me one in 8th grade, unheard of at the time). Then the end came for me…my Christmas present a few years ago was my iPhone.

    I forgot it on a trip one time and had to revert to my old phone for about a week. I couldn’t function. I didn’t have Google maps, Facebook, Twitter, Plants vs. Zombies and who knows what else at my finger tips. I am utterly ashamed that I rely so much on a piece of glass, metal and plastic to get through my days. Run while you still can. (That is, if you can without the RunKeeper app.)

  • Kristin McConnell

    My husband and I got our first cell phones in 1997. Even though it was an extravagance for two Brethren-Mennonites, they were necessary. He and I worked for the same social service agency — a vendor for the San Gabriel/ Pomona Regional Center. Our hours were never the same from day to day or week to week. There were times when my husband had to spend the night with one of our people, so he needed to be able to tell me the news without using the clients’ home phones.

    We never got anything silly, like texting, on our own. One year, however, our agency got us all phones with texting and encouraged us to use it, as it didn’t use up voice minutes. He and I got used to that! The phone didn’t ring — it beeped twice and that was it. 🙂 It came in handy when I started teaching, and when Alana was born. He could tell me that Alana had come home sick from daycare or if I needed to get her, and it didn’t take a half a second. I admit, I liked texting, but we only texted to each other. Ever.

    We had to give up our phones when we left the agency, so we got simple phones from an internet company — no contract and a very low rate. It has been great! Our phones last two to three years at a time, and we never used texting again. It wasn’t necessary, since we only ever used them to check in with each other.

    Last year, though, I worked with a team at my school who used texting to communicate most of the time. I didn’t have it, so I always heard about things the day after, and I got such an attitude about it from them. So, in order to be in the loop, I activated the texting on my phone and upgraded my phone to one with a full keyboard. As it goes, I was transferred out of 1st grade and into kindergarten, where neither of my partners use texting to communicate. So, I’m back to square one. I’m still paying the extra $2.50 for texting, so I’ll keep it if I need it.

    It’s just so funny. I’m like you, really. I don’t like having a virtual tether, but I find the thought frightening to be without one. How the heck did I grow up without one if they’re so needed now?? I do not understand this dichotomy. LOL 🙂

  • Zailo

    Liked the article about you getting a phone. When I broke down and got one, some of my friends practically keeled over in shock. It is totally helpful in my work, but I really just want a big heavy rotary desk model.

    Keep up the good work.