Friday, December 02, 2005

Cellphone's Lament

I don't pretend to recall all of my of my senior year History seminar, but I do recall a rather spirited discussion we had about the subtle ways in which technology works its way into our lives.

I believe it was where I came up with the "Jiffy Pop analogy," which served me so well in my time as a web developer. It basically goes like this: when we were kids, making popcorn at home meant Jiffy Pop on the stove -- an affair involving the entire family that would take the better part of 15 minutes, not counting the sarcastic remarks and admonitions to not burn it. Today we microwave popcorn in less than 2 minutes, and that 2 minutes can seem like an eternity. Our temporal expectations have adjusted to match up with the technology. The point, I believe, of the book we were discussing in the seminar was that society is soon reaching critical mass on that score. There comes a point wherein technology will be faster than human comprehension, and what do we do then. But I digress...

My point in bringing that up was to talk about how quickly we become dependent on technology. In this case, I am lamenting the loss of my cell phone (which was thoughtfully provided by CPI with the service paid for by the contract I worked on). I should tell you that I was not one of those people who seemed to be permanently attached to the thing (thus inspiring that fun game, "Crazy? Or Cellphone?"), in fact, I often wondered if I lacked people to talk to. One day driving home from work and merging into what was always a messy merge onto 395, I noticed that I was the only person in any of the cars surrounding me who wasn't talking on a cellphone.

But in spite of that, the little gadget had wormed it's way into my life patterns. Most specifically, I find it difficult to shop now. I had become so dependent on being able to call MLW while I was at the store. "Should I get the red or the blue?" "Do we need butter?" "I'm at Home Depot, is there anything you need?" Etc. In fact, I almost had a minor scale meltdown last week at Target, staring at the literally hundreds of choices in Xmas lights, because I kept reaching for the phone that wasn't there. How could I make this decision myself without input? (Which is interesting, as it begs the question, did I become dependent on the cellphone, or just indecisive?)

But especially with my "never know when a thought is going to pop up" way of brain functioning, a cellphone was a useful tool. Doubly so when say I am now constantly tying up the phone line by being online...

So while on some level I find it odd, I do, apparently miss this small gizmo that wormed its way into my life. And I think that's enough from me right now, plus I have mouse hand (the phenomenon wherein the hand you're mousing with, and only that hand, gets ice cold for some reason...), so more tomorrow.

Recent Epilogue: Before I had the chance to publish this (yes, sometime I write a post in advance... I hope I haven't spoiled the blog "magic" by telling you that), MLW got me a new cellphone! Since she was on Nextel since I had been on Nextel for work, she simply expanded us to some sort of family plan, and got me a new phone. Have I mentioned lately how much she rocks (and how that's the sort of decision I would have agonized over for weeks and weeks comparing plans and carriers and phones and all that...)? Well, she does. New number available on request.

1 comment:

Jado said...