hello, kaput residence!

March 26, 2011

until my birthday last year, when my parents surprised me with a cell phone as a present, i was very resistant to such gadgets. i didn’t like being tied to an expensive plan. i didn’t like being (assumed) always interruptable. i didn’t like having to worry about losing it. i didn’t like the consumerist aspects of them (cellular infrastructure struck me, and still often does, as a waste of money in a country with a well-developed telecommunications infrastructure and little money to maintain the various public infrastructures we have (i.e.-roads, bridges, public transit, etc.)).

but i found myself with a cell phone (and a plan being paid for!) and i (being a broke single mama) cancelled my land line service, albeit reluctantly.

i like using my cell phone to text with my sisters and brothers, because i doubt that i would be in touch with them anywhere near as much otherwise, modern conversation skills being what they are (in both myself and everyone else!)… talking on the phone feels a little awkward. and initiating a phone call feels a bit scary, knowing that you might be intruding on someone’s tiny bit of nonbeeping, nonbuzzing smell-the-mixture-of-lilacs-bus-exhaust-and-human-being time. i call my mom, my dad, and my nonni frequently, though, and find that we are having great phone calls. i could do this just as easily on my old landline, but not paying long distance bills, as well as the increased connection with my siblings motivates me extra to be in touch with them!

but i really miss not needing to charge, turn on, or turn off my phone, as well as not feeling guilty when i ignore someone.

i also worry about my kids. i don’t like to let them use my cell phone (for a variety of reasons, including concerns about EMFs). yet i want them to have time to call people they care about, to practice conversing over the telephone wires (or… weird cell phone waves?), and even to answer the telephone! i remember it was exciting to me to answer the phone, to feel mature and capable, to feel excited to find out who was calling my house, to idly chatter for a few minutes while my aunt waited to talk to my mom.

of course i know that telephone usage is a very short blip in human history, and that kids turn out fine without these opportunities… but i also think having a telephone in the house that belongs to the whole family is a neat idea. it involves sharing, it offers autonomy and access to people beyond the immediate household. it has possibilities we adults may be forgetting to consider!

i want my kids to answer the phone while i’m taking a bath and then talk to my brother for a few minutes while i wash my hair and get dried off. i want them to look forward to their friends calling. i’m even willing to pay a little bit every month for them to have the chance.

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