Don’t you just hate that in-between feeling. Pretty much it’s something that strikes repeatedly throughout life. It’s that feeling of knowing, but not, the familiar, but not, the tiny bit of frustration that creeps in. That’s pretty much my feeling about telephones today. Don’t mistake my frustration for not using them. Au contraire, mon amie, I live on the phone when I’m not on my computer. My cell and land line are both at my side waiting and ready for use.
My children don’t use land lines nor do they need them for having a phone as an appendage is their norm. For me and those older than me, it’s a little more complicated. When we were growing up, there was only one phone in the house. Ours was located in the kitchen and was yellow. The older phones were made in black only so we were pretty “modern” for our day. There was a circular dial with cylindrical finger holes for dialing the number to be called. Your printed number was held in the center. The phones had only one ring tone and everybody’s phone sounded the same. There were only two options either your call went through or it didn’t. If it didn’t, you had to call back later since there were no answering machines or systems. The best part of all this simplicity was that only friends or family called. There were no telemarketing calls. If a business call rang through, it was because you had called them first.
Now, our phones are strung throughout a house and there are a myriad of options from which to choose. My landline tells me that I have missed 10 calls, but it will be there in perpetuity since the manual is long gone. When I die, my children can put “She missed 436 calls” on my tombstone. That’s the only reason I can see for that information to be there. But the good news is that I do keep my cell phone charged now. When they first came out, using them was cost prohibitive; however, having them was a layer of protection. So, I learned to have it with me in the car, but to not keep it charged since it was for emergencies only.
My children missed that stage of phone evolution. I understand that children are now born with a phone attached to their ear or, at least, that’s what I’m told. From personal experience, I can tell you that my daughter had one semi-permanently attached to her head from age sixteen forward. There are many excellent changes that mobile phones have brought about. However, always being available isn’t my ideal way of life. There are times when I, like Greta Garbo, just “vant to be alone”. I can’t imagine answering the phone every single time it rings; my daughter can’t imagine not answering hers. Sounds like a generational thing to me. Truthfully, I am glad I was born when having a phone in the home was the norm and can’t imagine life without them.