My Little Red Talisman
Posted November 16, 2010on:
One day I left my cell phone at home by accident. When I arrived at school/work and discovered this, I had a minor panic attack. How would I keep in touch with my husband throughout the day? We meet up on campus frequently. How would we know where to meet, since we often decided where to meet by texting each other? What if my boss needed to contact me to change an assignment? I type out live transcripts of lectures for students who require the service (by law) at BYU. There are only six or seven “transcriptionists” on campus and we’re spread pretty thin, so if one of us is absent, the others have to be on alert to fill in the gaps. My job uses texting throughout the day to keep my boss informed of the situation in the classroom. What if a client left early and I had no way to text my boss? What if someone needed help in another class and my boss couldn’t get ahold of me? What if my sister needed a ride? All these thoughts raced through my head within less than a minute.
I realized that my life is pretty dependent upon this tiny red box that fits in the palm of my hand. And there are many others like me, who panic slightly at the thought of even a day without their connection to everyone. I wonder if Alexander Graham Bell could’ve foreseen how necessary his invention would become to modern life. I’ve been reading about how much the telephone has changed since its invention. To my 15 year-old brother, cell phones seem like they must’ve been around forever and are a necessary part of his existence. But in fact, “the first portable cell phone call” was not made until 1973. Although mobile phones had been used in cars since the mid-1940s, Martin Cooper of Motorola’s cell phone “was the first one invented for truly portable use” (National Academy of Engineering).
I think the connectivity enabled by cell phones is a wonderful thing. I also know that there are many times where etiquette is required for the responsible use of phones. I was talking about this with my mom’s cousin at a baby shower this weekend. Texting while someone is trying to have a conversation in person with you is rude, but it’s amazing how many people don’t know or forget this social rule. I don’t think we should vilify the cell phone for this gap in politeness however. The cell phone is a wonderful tool when used correctly. I literally don’t know what I would do without it.