The Phone Wars

I don’t have to tell you that cellphones are ubiquitous. Everyone has one. Even Amish teenagers and people who live in the African bush have cell phones, and I do not exaggerate. Most of the world has some form of cheap cell phone coverage. Those of us in the so-called developed countries pay dearly for our phone/wireless/internet/televsion connections because we can; mo t of the world can’t and their costs are lower. And someone still makes money.

I’ve been phone free for a while. I use other people’s phones when I need to, but I am not a phone-talker anyway. Now I’ve run into a snag, and a call got missed due to a message phone being out of service, and I had failed to give a backup number. The little call-me/callback  waltz is getting wearing as well. It may be time.

I can get a “stupid” phone for not much money here; I can get pay-as-you-go calling, with no contract. I buy a card, load the minutes on my account, and use them until they are gone. We’ve done this before and it cost about $20 a month for us – the phone was for quick messages to each other and emergencies. (We lived in the woods and had the worst cell phone reception. To call out, I would have to stand on the cab of the truck.)


It is yet another piece of electronics with all its waste and worry; we have our old phone but the battery is several years old and doesn’t hold a charge for more than a day; I don’t want to start the cycle of using up phones again. We had a drawer full a few years ago, along with other outdated and dead electronic devices. We sold the good ones and recycled the bad ones and breathed a sigh of relief. We got off the ni-cad and plastics carousel, and now we will have to get back on.

I knew it was inevitable.

You know what I want? My great-aunt’s old black Bakelite phone, bolted to the wall because it weighed as much as a small child, with $10 a month for basic phone service and 30 cents a month to rent the phone, with the extra charge for long distance only when they used it. It  hissed and crackled, but it never failed. It was good enough for country folk. You could call the doctor or the vet, and distant relatives wrote with a date to call you so you could have a phone visit. It wasn’t pretty, but it sure didn’t rule their lives, and since they had the same phone for decades, it certainly didn’t contribute to the waste cycle.

I don’t mean to sound hopelessly nostalgic, but I am not sure I want to go back into the phone culture.