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Due to circumstances well within my control — basically if I hadn’t been so lazy or could have cared to muster some motivation — my misfortune sees my back living with my parents at the ripe old age of fifty three. Not a truly uncomfortable arraignment as my folks adore me, and I them, mom’s a great cook and I can do for two people who are spry but are still in their 80’s and can use a little help.
So things ain’t so bad.
Working within a tightly realized financial budget now, I have had to make some very specific fiscal changes to my life, one of which was getting into a cheaper cell phone situation. I use the word “situation” specifically because as we have all found in the constant bombardment of advertising from the various cell phone carriers throughout the land, ‘data packages,’ insurance for phones, contracts and the actual fret over what new phone to buy takes up lots of modern man and woman’s thoughts these days; it is all a heady situation to be sure. Luckily my most recent purchase in this area was not only rather simple, led as it was by my limited financial resources, it has freed me from an addiction.
An addiction we all share, even if we won’t admit it.
My cable provider offers a very inexpensive solution to the usual cell phone plan. For a willing customer they provide a new android phone with the spectacular savings of a $10-a-month charge for all calling, texting, emailing…basically their unique data plan. While I am not shilling for this offer, I am pleased that I have to pay so little now for my cell phone use. The caveat though is that I can only use the phone when I am in the proximity of my cable company’s hotspot, plenty of which are in the area I live in as my cable provider is one of the biggest in the area (and of course we have one in my parent’s home) or when in Wi-Fi range.
And this restriction is what has saved me.
I have been forever bemoaning the insidious use of cell phones, texting, tweeting Facebooking in our modern culture (so much so that I have been called a “cell phone Nazi”). My skin crawls when I hear “boop” “wee-who” or the various other bleats, farts and clicks that signify either a text, Facebook prompt or tweet coming across a partner’s handheld computer. I hate not only how often I see the things in modern life but how much my fellow man cannot even leave the house for even a run to the corner store without cell phone in hand, or satiate that need to take a picture of everything they pass and get it up across Instagram for some reason I have yet to fathom. All this connection to communication seems like a time suck of Herculean proportions and even though I have not, nor will I ever join the cult of Facebook and could never see my way to snapping or sending a “selfie” I was coming to fear I was using my phone way too much.
Now I can’t and I’m free.
Would I have weaned myself off on my own? I’d like to think I could have been strong enough, and I really did use the thing so much less then my contemporaries and even shut my cell off lots of the time (Say it ain’t so! you scream) but the question is moot as now I simply can’t use the thing as much as I used to. Surely Wi-Fi is everywhere, but I find knowing that I can’t catch reception all the time, I simply don’t leave the house with the thing all that often any more.
What I have always suspected, am certainly learning and know that the general populace is ignoring is that most of what comes across our cell phones, Facebook accounts, Twitter feeds and Instagram posting is, by and large, trivial. With the ability to communicate all the time, we simply do so too much, with modern communicating more a matter of ‘just ‘cause we can, should we?’ petard I feel. And in an all too-ironic twist, it’s obvious our smart phones aren’t making us smarter, when in fact I believe our portable devices lead us down lazy pathways where we can too easily Google someone’s query, where before we might have had to use our brains to ponder the answer.
And God knows, as the net/email/portable computers, et al. brings us all closer/better communication with one another we are becoming ever more isolated in our little cocoons where we ever, it at all, have to raise out beaks out of our Android screens to look up at the person sitting across from us.
Back home, loving the meals and knowing I am rightly blessed to still have my folks alive and kicking, good God almighty I am free at last… because of my cable company and my cheap cell phone.
Editor-in-chief for magazines and websites; columnist, reviewer, interviewer; internationally published author of short stories, SEO copy, children's songs, 800 # phone-sex 'scripts' and one-act plays; anthologist and ASCAP-licensed songwriter, Ralph Greco, Jr. fails to keep his ever-expanding ego in check living while in the wilds of suburban New Jersey.