It’s increasingly rare to meet someone who doesn’t own a mobile phone. Kids, nannas, homeless people….somewhere over the past two decades, it went from something only Yuppie Wankers carried, to rating up there with oxygen on most people’s must-have list.
Kylie Ladd, writes about her life with no phone ….
I don’t have a mobile phone. Yes, you read that correctly: I have no mobile phone. In this day and age that makes me a rarity. Statistics show that in developed countries 97 per cent of the population possess a mobile, and that includes children and the elderly. Many of my friends have two – one for work, one for personal calls – and some have given up their landline in favour of their Nokia or iPhone.
To them, I’m a dinosaur, a Luddite, a ridiculous aberration in a world where every second person has something jammed to their ear. It’s not even that I’m afraid of technology – I email, I Facebook, I’ve even succumbed to Twitter. I just don’t dial. Or text. Or answer the phone in the supermarket and shout into it: “I’m in the supermarket. Where are you?”
I have to admit that there are times when I’m tempted. Having a mobile would have been a blessing when my car broke down a few weeks ago, or in those moments when I’m suddenly unsure if I’ve schlepped my son to the wrong cricket ground for his match. Then there was the time a friend of mine attended the Brownlow with her husband, a former AFL footballer. Watching the coverage at home, every time the camera swept over her table all I could see of Leah was the top of her head as she leaned frantically over her phone. I knew she was texting friends, as arranged, and I was dying to know what they were saying.
But other than that, I don’t feel that I’m missing out.
To me, all the conveniences of a mobile phone seem to be negated by the fact that it no doubt quickly becomes something else to remember, to pay for, to be tied to. I can be reached, and reach others, quite easily by email and the regular phone; if I plan, there’s never any reason to have to take anything with me for constant updates.
A new acquaintance was aghast when I told him I didn’t have a mobile. “But what do you do if you’re running late?” he asked incredulously. Try not to run late, I answered. Hope the person will wait five minutes if I do, or find a public phone to call them if I’m going to be any longer than that (pay phones do still exist).
Another reason not to buy into the mobile mania is that I detest the way they seem to take precedence over face-to-face conversation. Many’s the time I’ve been talking to someone at a cricket match or school function and that person’s mobile has rung. Even though we might be deep in discussion, it seems the norm is to simply answer the phone and put me on hold.
Even ruder are the addicts who text while you’re having lunch together, or check their emails on a girls’ night out. I don’t want to turn into one of those.
I also don’t want to be always available, always on. I spend a lot of time talking to people in my job as a psychologist and answering the questions of my loquacious seven-year-old daughter. I spend hours, too, wrestling with words and ideas when I’m writing, and sometimes I need a break from all those things – the words and the talk.
Occasionally, when I am sitting on the sidelines at my son’s swimming training, I find myself musing that it might be nice to have a mobile so I could catch up with a friend or read the paper online. But then the hour passes and I realise that I am calmer, that sometimes you need to step back, you need to be still. That’s when the ideas come and the problems are solved.
I know my stance will be challenged as my children get older and want mobiles of their own. In our social circle, the rule of thumb seem to be that kids get their own phones once they start high school. That’s only two years away for my son. I’d like to think that I’ll resist, that I can convince him that such an accessory simply isn’t necessary, that it might even, in these days of cyber-bullying and sexting, be dangerous, or at least a drain on his finances.
Still, I may have to compromise. Next month, my family and I are setting out to travel through the Kimberley and the Pilbara at the top of Australia. My girlfriends have pointed out that surely, given my navigational abilities and my spouse’s mechanical prowess, a mobile would be essential – how else were we going to be rescued when we broke down or got lost?
For a moment I thought I was beaten, until my husband pointed out that there wasn’t much coverage in the Top End, and what we’d really need was a satellite phone.
I’m not sure whether that counts. Even if it does, at least, up there, no one will ever need to hear me announce that I’m in the supermarket.
Image by Geekgirly
Do you remember life before mobile phones? How old were you when you got your first and can you EVER imagine not having it? Do you have any no-go-phone areas in your life?