I like to refer you readers... the good ones... the ones who pay attention... the incredibly shrinking few who have not abandoned this blog (yet).. to articles someone else has written. First, because it proves that I can read and recognize talent by others and, second, I don't have to write as much to fill in a post.
So, let me direct you to the following...
A Results-Free Cell Phone Law by Debra J. Saunders
Last week, an insurance industry report found that bans on using hand-held cell-phones while driving in California, New York, Washington, D.C. and Connecticut did not reduce the number of car crashes. To the contrary, crashes went up in Connecticut and New York, and slightly in California, after the bans took effect.
Ms Saunders makes a good point in her column. Why pass a law that is difficult to enforce and may not have any real effect on the problem it is supposed to address? Because, my friends, it might help and, even if it doesn't, we'll all feel better, won't we? But she overlooks another point. One that I think is important, one that says something about people and dependency.
I can't drive and talk on a cell phone. It scares the bejeezus out of me to even try. I am not a bad driver, in spite of what Faye might tell you. But I do realize that I am not able to give my full attention to the task at hand if one of my hands is wrapped around an active cell phone.
I had OnStar active in my car, which gave me hands-free calling (at an excessive price), but that didn't help. What happened was a form of tunnel vision during the calls. My mental focus was on the dynamics of the call conversation and not the traffic around me. I stayed in my lane only because I was no longer driving the 20 year old clunker with the bad front-end that was all I could afford at one time.
So, being nominally sane and mostly rational, I do not drive and phone. I pull over. I make the call before starting out. Or have my passenger (assuming I have one) do it. Or I do not make the call at all.
I am quite anti-cell phone, I suppose. I believe we can easily do with out them. But, then, many might call me a curmudgeon... or worse. I do not require constant contact with others. I come from an era where no one had cell phones. In fact, some had no phone at all. And the ones that did have them were limited in mobility by the length of the cord between phone and wall and handset and phone base. You could not even unplug the phone and move it to another room. It was hard-wired to the wall.
More than a decade went by before we had phone jacks which allowed us to decide where we wanted the phone to be, what room and where in that room. Another decade before we were freed from wires and could walk around our houses, even outside within limits, and still chat on the phone.
We went hours without being reachable when we left our homes. And we survived. Even prospered. We ate in restaurants and heard both sides of a conversation at the next table. If we heard that... because people lowered their voices so that others would not overhear (or be disturbed in their dining). And life was not unbearable.
A cell phone is a wonderful thing. It allows us to contact help when we need it. I first bought one so Faye could call for assistance if she had car trouble when driving home from work at night (she did taxes and sometimes did not get home until 10). As cell phones proliferated, those pay phones (which seemed to be in the worst places and often out of order) became more rare. Parents got cell phones for their teenagers for much the same reasons as I got one for Faye.
Usage grew and features proliferated and we quickly became dependent on these devices. I say "we" in the grand scale. I am not. Dependent, that is. I use a GoPhone, a pay as you go type cell phone where you purchase minutes. I buy 100 minutes for a year and have used less than 20 in the last 8 or 9 months.
And, somehow, I do not feel all alone and without contact. I live without an electronic leash. I feel free.
I leave it to you, dear readers, have cell phones enriched or diminished our lives?
A Night Unremembered
7 years ago