Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Cellphones or Hellphones?

I hope there are no cell phones in heaven! (That's assuming, of course, that I'll be in a position to care). I truly, truly hate my cellphone. Partly that's because it's way more than a cell phone. I had no choice in the type of phone I ended up with because my alter ego in Indiana Legal Services, the Plan Administrator for District 4, was hired before I was so he got to pick the phone he wanted and they purchased its twin for me.

Tim is one of those electronics geeks. He loves, and is skilled in using, all the high-tech stuff so he selected one of those devices that do everything but pour your coffee for you. I believe that it keeps your calendar (beeping to remind you of upcoming appointments) and connects wirelessly to the internet and synchronizes with your p.c. and keeps you up to date on news and plays music and informs you about the weather and functions as a GPS so should you ever get lost on U.S. 24 between Peru and Logansport, the search party can locate you before you starve and/or freeze, as well as taking pictures and downloading files and organizing your address book.

And that is only the computer side as it is actually divided into two completely different machines. The second one is the phone part. Of course, as you'd expect, you can make and receive phone calls when the phone side is switched on. You can also get and send text messages and call up and speed dial anyone in your list of Contacts. You can also collect your voice mail messages.

Sitting on my shelf at work, still in the package from a year ago when I got the phone, is something called Blue Tooth. I think that is the speaker device that fits over your head and in your ear so that you can just freakin' spend every moment of your life talking on the phone if you so desire, even when you're in the bathroom or driving the car. Seeing as how the last thing in the world I want is more phone time, I have never broken out the Blue Tooth (if, in fact, that's what it is.)

I say that I believe the phone will do all these things I mentioned because Tim and my instruction manual say it will and not because I've ever done them myself. What I have actually done is 1) receive phone calls, 2) make phone calls and 3) collect voice mail. That's it. Period.

I've never put an appointment on my phone because I have a handy-dandy paper calendar in my purse that I check religiously every morning to see what I have scheduled for that day. If I forget, I can pull it out instantaneously, much more quickly than I can call up the calendar on my phone. I have never gotten a weather report via my phone and I have never GPSed myself to discover if I've absentmindedly wandered out of Indiana and up into Michigan. I have yet to take a picture or listen to a song or download a file on my phone. And, honestly, I don't expect I ever will do any of these things.

I've also never read or sent a text message. If anyone reading this has ever texted me and never got an answer, I'll warn you right now that you never will. It's bad enough to have to keep up with the phone ringing and and the voice mails stacking up without adding texts to the mix. I keep my phone off when I'm at courthouses doing intake interviews (some courthouses, like Wabash, require this while others don't but, it simply seems like the courteous thing to do). In the course of a morning and afternoon of having been turned off, I will go to the voice mail function to be met with the familiar and dreaded words that send cold chills down my spine - "Your voice mailbox is full. Please delete all unneeded messages so that you may receive more messages," although the last thing I want is more messages. I actually love the people who leave great long communications because they leave less room for everyone else to queue up in the line.

I had to have Tim show me how to delete text messages. I'm heartless about it, simply "deleting all" without ever paying attention to who they are from or what they might be about. For all I know, it might be the Indiana Lottery telling me I'm a $10,000,000 winner but if so, they'll simply have to roll the jackpot over to next week. I answer the calls on my voice mail at the office in Lafayette and the voice mails on the cellphone and that's all the time I have for phone calls if I want to accomplish anything else at actually doing my job.

I have begged my office administration to let me switch to another kind of phone when my annual contract is up. I just want a phone - one that will let me make and receive phone calls and oh, all right, save voice mail messages. That's all. I like to keep an emotional distance from the machines in my life, having learned the hard way that they will break your heart if you give them the opportunity. I don't want to bond with my cellphone. We don't have to call each other pet names or kiss good night.

And I'd prefer a flip phone or at least a slender one that doesn't feel like you're holding a brick up to your ear, a more feminine phone, if you prefer.

I already have a best friend. All I want this time is a phone.

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