Bri Colorful

My Little Red Talisman

Posted on: November 16, 2010

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.

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10 Responses to "My Little Red Talisman"

I don’t think Alexander Graham Bell knew what he was getting us all into. The cell phone allows us to connect with people from all around the world.
This post gets me thinking about the importance of connecting? Why is it important? I mean the telephone connects us to people. The airplane connects us to people. The Internet connects us to people. Why do we feel a need to connect? And what are the benefits of connecting? Thanks for your post. It got my wheels turning.

Wow. You ought to do a post on this! 🙂

Cell phones are much like any invention–they have ups and downs, especially when it comes to texting.

I look at my cell phone as a protector. There are times when I am in a bad part of the neighborhood (who am I kidding, my whole neighborhood is pretty dangerous), with my kids, and keep my cell phone open just in case. There are also the what ifs? What if I break down? Run out of gas? Get lost? Get in an accident? Since almost all of these things happened to me or my husband, and we were saved by cell phones, I am deeply indebted to that little box.

When I went over to England, my cell phone became useless. Literally. Nothing doing. Did not work. I was off the grid. 🙂 The first week, it was very unnerving and took a lot of adjustment. “You can just call me… Oh, wait. No you can’t. Um… I guess if you’re not there, I’ll wait for 15 minutes and then leave…?” Or whatever. The second week, I felt so free. Now, I’m not planning on getting rid of my cell. However, I do reserve the right to leave it behind or not answer it. (I realize it is different with your job.) But I will not be a slave to it. Also, what you said about etiquette. It really bothers me when people indiscriminately take calls or texts while we are talking. I understand sometimes things could be important. That’s okay. I’ve had to do it sometimes. I always apologize profusely and then get off as quickly as possible. If a person is going to waste my time, though, I just want to leave. (Can you tell this is a huge pet peeve of mine?) May we all be a little more aware of those around us and not just those who touch us remotely! 🙂

Don’t get me wrong. I’m very grateful for cell phones.

ha ha. I love you Sara Lyn. I’m right there with you. I’m grateful for them. At the same time, it is very freeing to leave it behind like Grant and I usually do when we go on hikes or dates.

I’ve often laughed at how our habits have flipped. Few people had cell phones and the rest of the population went about their lives without cell phones. I bet the few who had them were “weird”. Now, you are weird if you DON’T have a cell phone. How can a person possibly survive without a cell phone?!? While I am very grateful for the convenience, I dislike the assumption that a person can be reached at any given moment.

I agree with Sara Lyn; it is freeing to not have a constant reliance on a phone. (I will gladly raise my hand to say I have a reliance on mine, but the sentiment is still the same.)

ha ha. Amanda, you reminded me of when I was in middle school just now… i had a PDA/ Palm that dad had handed down to me from his work. I used it as a calendar and calculator and such. People thought I was such a nerd! Now the situation is reversed and if you don’t have a cool smart phone, you’re the nerd. Poor middle schoolers.

You just made me think of something- My dad doesn’t have a cell phone (and practically refuses to have one) but is lost without his PDA. I suppose we all have our own digital talismans these days.

Yes, I get the shakes when I realize I don’t have my cell phone on me.

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