LOWE LINES: We're cell phone dependent

It was like falling from an airplane without a parachute.

It was like being lost in a thick forest without a compass.

We were 30-some miles from home without our cell phones.

During most of our years, we only used a land line phone, and when we left home we went phoneless. When cell phones became available and popular, we switched to those. Our children rely on cell phones. Our grandchildren, too. All God’s children carry cell phones.

These days when we travel from home, we put gas in the tank, and our phones into pocket and purse. But on this morning, my wife and I had overslept before rushing to a tag sale in Bowling Green. You know how it is — if you don’t get to a sale during its opening moments, you might miss the best deals. So we left in haste and failed to grab our phones.

Sometimes, we’ve been separated from one another at these big, multiple-room sales. When one located an item of keen interest to the other, a phoned alert would quickly bring us together. During this experience, though, we had to make purchase decisions without consulting one another.

Our Bowling Green daughter was expecting our call after we explored the sale. We planned to get together with her family for brunch. When it came time to call her, we had to depend on the kindness of strangers and borrow a phone.

“She might not answer a call coming from an unknown number,” my wife worried.

“We have an even bigger problem,” I realized. “I don’t know her phone number. Do you?”

“No,” she admitted, “I just keep it programmed into my phone.”

We’ve become accustomed to using the phone’s memory, rather than our own.

In order to get a message to our daughter, we called our son at his work office where his phone number was available through directory assistance. Our son called his sister. Finally, we got together at a restaurant.

I didn’t have my phone to read the latest news headlines, or see Facebook, or check for text messages while waiting to be served. That was for the best, though, because it freed me to give more attention to those around our table.

During our visit, the granddaughter became animated with a sweet expression. My impulse was to grab the phone and make her photo. The limited moment was quickly gone without getting recorded for unlimited, future appreciation.

We usually call our moms during the day. They are in the stage of life often referred to as “getting on up in years,” and when we don’t visit with them in person, we use our phones to talk with them from wherever we happen to be. We felt somewhat isolated from them during our nine-hour trip without our phones.

I didn’t worry about robo callers, yet I did wonder if someone was trying to connect with us for a legitimate reason.

Are the cell phone conveniences worth the dependency we have come to place upon them? Have we become too preoccupied with these hand-held devices? Perhaps the answers to these questions are yes and no. I’m concerned, though, about the order in which we place those answers.

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