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Old women talk about old things: history, myth, magic and their
checkered pasts, about what changes and what does not.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016


On this, the 29 day of June, 2016, at 12:37 a.m., I hereby declare war on cellular phone service in general, and so-called ‘Smart’ phones in particular.  It has always been my conviction that this monstrous invasion of privacy was perpetrated upon us by the young Millennials, to prove their superiority by their creations of unparalleled stupidity, having no taste, no style, and no integrity.  It is the cesspool of a wireless age.  It is distasteful at best and dangerous at worst. 

It is every minute of every phone owner every day.  Do they ever sleep?  Do they not have jobs?  Is it so difficult for them to understand that driving at 60 miles per hour on a major 6-lane resort highway where EVERYONE is in a hurry with their iPhone or SmartPhone clutched in their crabbed little hands, pecking away between glances up to see what’s going on in traffic, is paramount to murder and maybe suicide, as it if mattered. 

How can the vast majority of car driving, phone wielding citizens who wreak havoc on our highways every single day in every single state be absolutely DUMB on the concept of distracted driving?  What kind of generation have we produced who think that whatever it is that THEY are doing at any given minute is infinitely more important that what the other guy is doing.  And on down the line like dominoes.  And when did everyone become so goddamn important?  

So.  Let me tell you what has brought me to raging at the machine.  First of all, I have never been a fan of cell phones.  It became readily apparent very early on that a large majority of users used them EVERYwhere.  And they especially liked theatres.  I knew, from those boxy little flip phones, that life was going to become very much more difficult for the gomers, the geezers,  the folks who are never considered in the design of these various things to make them more geezer-friendly.  It seems as though the Silicon Valley boys really don’t want any help.  They are managing to make simple life functions as difficult as I imagine getting a passport must be. 

Case in point.  There is an outdoor tiki-styled restaurant on the water near where we live.  Before it was taken over by people who obviously had worked for Disney in Florida, it was a nice neighborhood bar/restaurant, very quaint, and very pleasant.  When grands and great-grands visited a week ago, they wanted to go there for lunch, and so we did.  When I talked to the reservation girl to put our name on the waiting list, she asked me for my phone number.  I gave it to her, and she then told me when our table was ready, I would get a text.  “Hold up,” I said, that’s my home phone.  Oh, she said, very sarcastically, don’t you have a smart phone?  “No, I said, “I have a flip phone in the bottom of my purse somewhere, and the condition of its battery is unknown.  Can’t you just come and find us?” 

By now an old guy (55+) came over and wanted to know what was going on.  Repeat the above paragraph.  The restaurant employees are getting nervous, and obviously have no solution.  Now, I’m angry.  I’m angry because what should be a fairly easy function of any major restaurant, i.e., announcing the availability of “Bashore, Table of 7”, has now evolved into a system that makes owning a Smart Phone a necessity.  I mean, how can one expect to function in a world we never even imagined?  The debacle was solved when someone in our party had their iPhone with them, and was able to get the text.  But what it there hadn’t been?  Were they that indifferent about embarrassing customers for being out of the loop that they are also indifferent as to whether or not those customers walk out.  My bill was $100 for lunch ... 4 adults, 3 children, and everything was a la carte.  And they didn’t care if they seated us or not. 

And then yesterday, since my cell phone contract had expired, I visited the local wireless store (the one that lights up all of the United States in their ad) to find out about hooking up an iPhone 4.0 that was gifted to me.  It did not go well.  First of all, he wrote down $30.00, then under it $20.00.  He pointed to the $30.00 and said, “This is your phone plan cost.”  Then he pointed to the $20.00 and said, “This is the cost of your phone.”  No, uh, wait a minute.  Doesn’t the fact that I OWN the phone make any difference here?  “No, he said, this is what it costs to have your phone on the phone plan.”  So I have to pay them to use the phone I own.  So this kid says, “Well, at $50, it’s only $15 more than you pay now, not a big deal.  And I leaned across the table and said to him quietly, Sonny, I’m on Social Security, and $15 IS a big deal for me.”  And then, of course, with all the taxes and hidden fees they don’t tell you about, I’m looking at probably $70 in the bottom line.  And so I did the only honorable thing I could do.  I cancelled the damn phone.  I lived all my adult life without a little box  running my every waking minute, telling me things I don’t need to know, and lots of other things about which I care little.  The fact that an instrument of convenience mostly for purposes of business, commerce and government has become this interconnected web from which no one knows how, or even wants to escape. 

So my spouse has decided to get a pay as you go phone.  Good.  I’ll use his.