Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Geeez, Tell Me About It!

I remember a long time ago when everything was so different. Before the information age. Before people had instant everything. If you had a phone, it was a home phone attached to a land line, a wire, maybe even a party line you shared with someone. We had a party line as late as 1975. It was the farm next door, 40 acres away. It wasn’t much of a hardship. They were never on the phone when we were.

It was a big deal when we bought an answering machine. Remember those that had a full size cassette tape in them to record the messages? Then came the micro cassettes, those little tiny ones. If you weren’t home and someone called, they could leave a message. You’d get home and see the light blinking and pressed whichever button and listened to whoever called you and what they had to say.

Time marched on and with that, the advent of the cordless phone, right in your own home, and the messages were left on nothing! There was no tape, cassette or mini cassette, and the messages were just there! How did they do that? Those were the days I tell you. How can that be improved upon? You could leave the home when you were waiting from a call from the drug dealer, I mean the doctor. When you got home, the message was there if they called. What freedom!

I didn’t get a remote phone until around 1994. They came out with these bulky units, called analog phones, that you plugged into a socket at home, or into a cigarette lighter in your vehicle. Either way, they were powered up and you could call out and receive calls. Besides the power cord, the handset was attached just like a corded phone at home. I remember having mine on the floor of the pickup truck. I’d talk on the phone and it looked like a regular Ma Bell Princess. One time I even picked it up and pretended to be talking to show off for the car next to me. What a hoot!

That highlighted Ma Bell Princess link above has info about a company that actually sells this Princess handset for your cell phone!

Then it happened. The cell phone. And it has gone nuts ever since. Apps, internet, voicemail, cameras, TV, Radio, MP3, calculator, texting, you name it, it does it. Hell, I found one that will give you a haircut and even make a phone call!

I want the good old days back. Really. As I age, I get more and more of those nostalgic e-mails that remind us of the bygone days when things were cheaper and we didn’t have the rules, guidelines, regulations and morals that we are held to now. A loaf of bread was a quarter and a candy bar was five cents! (Really youngsters, five cents!)

I’m at the grocery store, my phone rings. I’m at the coffee shop, my phone rings. I’m in church, my phone rings. The other day was in front of the coffee shop and an elderly woman was with her daughter. As they walked into the shop, the daughter's cell phone rang. The ring was a popular tune, the Doors, I think, Break on Through (to the other side). The woman looked startled and wondered where the music was coming from and had no idea it was a phone call. A ringing phone is neither in my opinion

In fact, I’m in bed sleeping, my phone rings. Well, that one is okay since I use the cell phone as a home phone, of course it would ring while I am at home. I guess I could leave the phone home on the charger and check it to see if anyone left me a message when I got home. That would mimic the era when we bought an answering machine. Is that too much?

Another change was the added caller ID option at home with a little device, and automatically built in on the cell phones these days. It’s like the radar detectors with the highway patrol. You get a new detector, they get a new type of radar. One is always thwarting each other’s efforts and the game goes on and on. Caller ID is like that too. You block your number or name so when you call, the receiver of the call can’t see who it is. It comes up as “Unknown”. Then that person has an option that doesn’t accept calls from unknown callers, and so on and so on.

Don’t get me started. Junk or spam calls, which used to be called telemarketing, which we always got as soon as we sat down at the dinner table, seem to be less when the cell phone is used as a home phone, but I still get a few calls to sell me something or a text message telling me that there is a great real estate opportunity available if I text them back or call the 1-800 number. Florida swamp land still for sale. I guess it hasn’t all been sold.

In fact, every corporation that I do business with, for phone service, for satellite TV, for credit, for anything, has sent me a notice with page upon page of small print that explains to me that they are going to send my personal information to a third party so they can spam me on the internet and call me on my phone, (they don’t word it that way, but that’s what it is), unless I “Opt out”, and to do this, it is action on my part. Otherwise, they are going to sell my information.

It is too late to stop the juggernaut. We’re all pretty much in this system. If you’re reading this on your own computer or even if you are at a library and have a personal e-mail account, your information is out there somewhere. I sometimes think that I’ll give it all up. Get rid of the computers, the TV, the cell phones, all of it. Pay my bills by bringing cash to the office for the utility bills in town and send a money order for the mortgage. Better yet, get off the grid and live in a tent up in Mendocino County!

That ought to do it. There, now I’m safe. Wait, there’s a knock at the door. Just a minute........................... How about that? It was the Fuller Brush salesman, and behind himv the Kirby salesman. How’d they know I needed some housekeeping tools and equipment?


Mel said...

Ohhhh...I'm so with ya!
I don't like phones to begin with--so tossin' 'em is right up my alley!

And yes, sir--I do 'remember when'. We had that 'party line' and it wasn't really an inconvenience......until they came out with private lines. LOL

And now-- Cellphones-R-Us.

I maintain mine on silent and handle it when I'm not involved in something. Unless it's the worksite cellphone (yes, there's TWO of those buggers in my purse....omg....) which I'm responsible to respond to immediately--just as soon as I can excuse myself to find a private spot to have a conversation.

Omgosh it makes me insane that others act like we can't hear them while they're on the phone!!

LOL Oh yes, the good ol' day!
Can I have some button candy, please--and shoe string licorice, if there's any in the jar.

Yes.......JARS! ;-)

Unknown said...

I'm getting too old for the information age! I have a cell phone, a Trac phone, with no apps, and for emergencies only. The only problem is, I forget to take it with me, and if I do, and it rings, by the time I find it and figure out how to answer it, they have hung up. And to access the voicemail, it costs me .30, so I have to debate that for awhile.

I remember the party line. I used to listen to all the calls when I was a wee lass, and my mother would smack the crap out of me.

Yeah, I miss the old days. Pretty soon texting will be obsolete as people will just answer the phone, see the person, and talk to them.

I don't how many times I've been in Walmart, and someone walks by me talking, and I say excuse me? and they look at me like I am a nut case. then I see the bluetooth thingy in their ear, and say, yeah, you guessed it, excuse me!

Delphyne said...

What a trip down memory lane! Party lines, message machines, princess phones...

Yes, sometimes I would like to disconnect from it all, but having just bought an iPhone4, I guess I still want to see how things work now - and remember when they used to be so different. I think that's a bonus - so many younger people have no idea about what is in the not so distant past and how much has happened and been developed/changed in the 60 years we've been alive....

Christopher said...

Two cans and a length of string, remember? And there wasn't any trouble with cold calling/telesales, either. Mind you, it wasn't easy, calling coast to coast.

Pax vobiscum.

EG CameraGirl said...

I hear ya! But I don't hear my cell phone because I do NOT have one and I do NOT want one. I think they stress people out. You cannot get away from them.

When I go for a walk I want to be with Nature not someone who wants to chat or wants me to do something for them. They can leave a message on my home phone.

When I'm at the grocery store I want to concentrate on the task at hand. When I'm driving, I want to pay attention to the road conditions.

I think you get the message. :)

Sorrow said...

OH! I am laughing so hard!
My son refers to his Cell phone as "my electronic leash" because I can find him! at football or a friends..~smile~
But no landline here, not a lot of electronic gadgets, really. But the computer? I talk on the george jetson phone all the time! LOL ( skype)
Love getting to see my cousins kids in Europe growing up, via the space phone.
OH! I think The Schwans guy is knocking ! BOL!

Fran said...

We recently did the time to renew dance.... both my kids ONLY have cell phones... no land lines for them. Being the opposites that they are- one has the apped up iphone, the other opted for least expensive, streamlined "old style" flip phone. He's a starving student now & he's always been a no frills guy. Besides this phone got great ratings for holding a charge & great reception/reliability.
There are some kids/teens who are fused w all the techno stuff to an unhealthy degree.
I use it as a tool. I have to shut it off @ work, and I have shut it off when I want down time.
All kinds of entertainment places now have a little schpeal before the show starts to review phone etiquette- movie theaters, and a free play in the park last week said if you need to take a call, talk, text or what not-- take it away from the performance area & turn off the ringer!

The tech stuff seems to rudely impose on our lives, but it has also been a total lifeline @ times. Connecting w my kid. Staying in touch w him when he did a X country bike ride,
connecting w people when flight plans change,
I don't need every whiz bang feature they come up with-- and especially not if it comes with a fat pricetag.
Also I commented recently some of the tiny buttons of these phones are not designed for human fingers.
Anyway we tried out some cool phones with a nice keyboard, but you HAD to pay for the internet connection, and it was not the full fledged Smart phone technology- so it was a crappy connection. Did we want to fork out an additional $600 bucks just to have those phones?
In the end the answer was NO.
Who knows what technology will be available in 1 year's time??
I mean seriously.
If Im going to have a superdeluxe phone.... I want one that will cook dinner, do the dishes & clean the bugs off my windshield.
App that!

Spadoman said...

Thanks for stopping by everyone. Seems like I'm not the only one that thinks about these things.

Mel... Two cell phones to deal with. That's a chore. Glad you keep them on "silent".
Button candy and string licorice. I bet you remember root beer barrels and Lime Rickey too!
Thanks for being here and for all you do.


Just Me... So wonderful to see you around. Forget to take it is the same as leave it at home on purpose. I'm really gonna try that. Problem is, the Grandkids text me when they get up so I can come home from the coffee shop. If I didn't have it, I'd probably have to stay home! Maybe that's not a bad idea either. Just sayin'

Good to see you here for sure!


Delphyne... WOW! An iphone, that's as cool as you can get! Nothing wrong with getting into it. Maybe I'm a little intimidated!
Thanks for stopping by.


Christopher... A lot of string. Remember, the first calls to Europe and England from the USA were on a cable stretched beneath the Atlantic, so, the string idea is not at all far fetched. What, were you a telemarketer? It was you that interupted my dinner!
Thanks for the visit.


EG Wow... Good for you. I am envious. I will try to NOT carry the thing everywhere I go. It is one of the tools we use to communicate rides and comings and goings of the Grandkids in our care. I could stay home more. I'm glad you are without one and want to start moving in that direction myself, soon!
Thanks for the visit.


Sorrow... Missing you here on the blogs. Great to hear from you here and the mail. (A fine heart and card, I love them!). Another with no land line. Sign of the times.
Good to see or hear from you anytime.


Fran... You have the rational response. It has been a lifeline. As technology developes and people embrace it, it becomes almost imnpossible to function without it. The examples of your sons being opposite is funny. I have two like that as well. They each want each others haid]r. The one with straight hair wants curls, and the opposite, well, you know.
thanks for stopping.


Billie Greenwood said...

It was not ALL that long ago but it was before cell phones: a friend of mine kept the handset from a regular old fashioned landline (the kind with a spiral-wire to the cradle) in his car. As he was driving on the highway, he'd pretend he was talking on it when other cars passed him. The drivers' eyes would bug out. Big reaction. It seemed so impossible then. Actually, it wasn't ALL that long ago.

Hootin' Anni said...

I hear ya...loud and clear. Why just the other day, I said to Bud as we were driving down the freeway, that everything in this world of ours is getting louder and louder. You have people 'locking their car doors' with little horn beeps. You have the reverse gear where the vehicle sends off this shrieking high pitched beeping. Sirens, horns honking, loud motorcycles, cellphones playing all kinds of different music, kids playing video games on their phones while you're trying to dine in comfort...oh so many things...I could go on and on. YOU STARTED IT! Nah, na, nah, na na!!

Oh and by the way, I do have picture ID on my cellphone...and if it's NOT coming up photos, I don't answer...I KNOW the numbers are telemarketers. And when a store asks me for my phone number, I tell them it's non-published. They can't do anything about it.

mig said...

I've got nothing against the instrument - as others have said, it's been a lifeline to between me and the family and not just the kids but the older ones too. But the beeping! Oh the constant beeping, bingling and jangling.
Silence is golden and there isn't much of it left!

Stephanie said...

give me the good old days...when you could actually be out of pocket.

look at me, I'm sitting in a lovely B&B in MI visiting my blog friends!!

susan said...

Well, it's 2010 and we still have a landline, cord and all, and prefer it. We had to get a cell-phone for the transition period but plan on dumping it the moment we have our new real telephone number attached to our place. I even managed to grab an old fashioned red telephone with a dial that once was used in one of the hospital departments. It was on its way to the trash for heaven's sake.

Some day there'll be some balance to all this but meanwhile we have to make our own.

rochambeau said...

Hi Spadoman,
Great post about how QUICKLY things change!!!!!!
I don't have a cellphone
except a track phone for an emergency. After reading your thoughts, it makes me kind of glad!
How did your pinata go?? Hope ALL had BIG FUN! Ariba~

Hi to ALL~

Spadoman said...

BE... You are right, it wasn't all that long ago. I think things change more rapidly as either we get older, or technology developemnet is accelerated. Thanks for stopping by.

Hootin' Anni... Thanks for coming by. I like the idea of the photos coming up and I know some folks do the custom ringtone. I guess I could set that up, but then I'd get confused as I can't see the screen without glasses and I'd forget which ringtone I prescribed to who! Good ideas thouight.

Mig... Yes, let's keep it quiet. Those ringers are really loud in church! Thanks for your visit.

Stephanie.. You are the epitome of technology blogging while on a trip and keeping tabs via cell phone. Glad you could stop by though. I appreciate it.

susan... I am proud of you that you don't get into the cell phone thing. I actually know quite a few that don't. I was recently away for two whole days and my phone didn't ring once, nor did I make any calls. Good to see you here. Hope the move goes really well.

rochambeau... Thanks for stopping by. Another that doesn't use a cell. I'll have to join your club. I'm seriously thinking about it, yet our cell phone is our home phone, and as i said in the post, maybe I should just leave it home!

eaprez said...

I am so sick of seeing people yack on their cell phones I could scream. I am sick of hearing peoples unimportant chatter in line......EVERYWHERE....hate them. I carry one but am viewed as a bit odd for not being a slave to the phone or not needing to be contacted at a moments notice. When I am on call the instructions are to call my house first, call the cell and to always leave msgs on my home phone. I will get back to you whenever I get the msg.