The other day I left the house bound for the grocery store. Less than two miles from home, I felt a wave of minor panic. Oh no! I forgot my cellphone!
What if I had a flat? What if someone at work needed me? What if I saw something funny and needed to text Brian? I thought of tapping the brakes and turning around. Then I thought of how life has changed, I'm being silly, and how I had spent most of my years without a phone in my purse and I've made it this far.
When I consider my personal history with cellphones, one image comes to mind. It’s not ancient history, either, but may seem that way, given how far our phones have come.
The image is a scene at the Babe Ruth baseball diamond in Pendleton. That narrows down the time to about 16-17 years ago because that’s when Sam played Babe Ruth and that is the only reason we were seated on the bleachers in that setting.
In the scene, a Babe Ruth dad walks by, cellphone plastered to his ear, a man so engrossed in a call that he isn’t watching the action on the diamond. Pitiful, we judged.
Brian and I commented to each other with disdain. “Who is that busy that he has to take calls at the ball diamond? Leave it at the office! C’mom!”
We were genuinely offended by the dad’s self-importance.
Fast forward just a few years and we are the ones with the phones against our ears, as is everyone else around us.
We were slow to get cellphones at our house. The first was a school-issue one for Brian, that went mostly unused. I think Ben, an eighth-grader, was the first to get a cellphone aside from Brian’s school cell.
Ben’s was a birthday gift and it may be his favorite present, ever, because he said he didn’t dream we’d actually get him one.
I never got the hang of texting when you had to hit number keys repeatedly to get letters. I am a lightning-fast typist, and I’ve been told I’m pretty quick with the pen and pad too, but texting? I was pitiful and I’m still not the best although my auto-corrects can be amusing.
The early cellphone photos were poor and as recently as a couple of years ago, our editor had a policy against using them for newspaper photos. My, but they have come along and the DPI and general quality are quite good now.
During my D.C. coverage last month, I relied on my cell camera and used my independent camera for back up.
Brian uses his phone’s GPS daily in his part-time job and he’s as adept as anyone in looking up airline flights or checking to see if Milburn Stone (Doc Adams on Gunsmoke) could possibly still be alive.
When I visited Israel in 2014, Brian and I spoke a few times and the connection was instant and as clear as if we were sitting next to each other on top of Masada. Growing up, the long-distance call to Connersville, about 10 miles away, sounded as though we were speaking half way around the world. The irony.
I try not to be annoying with my cellphone but the other day I forgot to turn it off and it rang during a meeting. I got a dirty look and I deserved it.
It’s a new world, for sure, and cellphones keep us connected in ways we wouldn’t have imagined just a couple handful of years ago.
Basically, I feel naked without one.
And no, Milburn Stone could not possibly still be alive.