This blog is still alive, just in semi-hibernation.
When I want to write something longer than a tweet about something other than math or sci-fi, here is where I'll write it.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Young people and their cell phones.

Since I still don't have TV, I went to my local bar La Estrellita to watch the first half of the Thursday night NFL opener pitting the Saints and the Vikings. The bar wasn't very full, and I struck up a conversation with a young woman whose left hand never strayed far from her Blackberry. (Not pictured here, but she was young, blonde and attractive.)

When I told her I didn't own a cell phone, she looked at me with a mixture of shock and pity usually reserved for double amputees. Her cell was a vital part of her life. She compared her provider Verizon to a bad boyfriend. Her old contract was almost up, but she upgraded to her Blackberry and now there was still a year and a half left on the new contract. She pays over $200 a month. I asked her about the company that charges a flat $40 a month (turns out that's Metro PCS), but she said she travels a lot and the service wasn't reliable enough.

The thing she said I found the most striking was that if she didn't have a cell phone, she wouldn't know that she had friends. The texts she got and sent during the evening were the proof of her connection to the world.

It was another of those "Jeez, I'm old." moments that have been happening with increasing frequency over the past few years.


susan s. said...

I have a phone with T.Mobile. It only makes calls. I only got it to call my husband when I'm gonna go out for a drink after choir practice. I buy minutes every 3 months and that's it. I feel good about having it. I used to ask my friends if I could use their phone. One night I was out with 3 people who each had a phone. They all needed to be charged, or at least that's what they said. There's hardly a public phone anywhere nowadays, so it's good to have around. Tom got one to take on trips. His has a camera. They don't make them without anymore.

Matty Boy said...

I'm pretty much a hermit, so there's nobody I have to be in touch with at a moment's notice on a regular basis. Sometimes I'm running late, and it would be nice to tell someone, but that isn't even a once a month situation for me. I have a life that moves at the speed of e-mail and phone messages about 99.9% of the time.

Anonymous said...

If it's any consolation, I'm 27 and only bought my first cell phone about 2 years ago. It's a T-Mobile prepaid phone. I spend $100 for 1,000 minutes, so if I use 1,000 minutes per year, that comes out to about $8.33/month. My minutes are good for a year, but whenever I buy new minutes, ALL of them roll over, so if I only used 100 of those minutes in a year, I could just buy a low number of minutes and have them all not expire for at least another year.

I probably wouldn't even have a cell phone if my home had a land line, but my fiancee and I decided it's just easier to go the cell phone route.

Tara Mobley said...

I'm planning on getting a "smartphone" in a few weeks, but it's more about having a handy, mobile, internet device than a texting or connecting thing. I hardly call anyone on the cell phone and prefer my land line. It's more reliable.

sfmike said...

I'm one of the last dinosaurs without one too, and will possibly break down and get one at some point. However, I've also noticed how they have completely taken over so many people's lives, particularly women. I'm a slave to the computer as it is, and don't need to also be a slave to a mobile device.

Matty Boy said...

Like you, Mike, I know how enslaved I am to my computer, so I don't feel any moral superiority to the people I see enslaved to their cells. Teaching at the college level, I know that asking people not to text in class is the hardest thing to get them to stop doing. There may some female to male preference difference, but as far as I can see, the addiction knows no barrier in terms of gender or ethnicity at a place like Laney.

dguzman said...

I have to admit that I'm addicted to texting, though I do refrain from doing it while I'm in conversation with people who are standing right in front of me.