Sunday, July 16, 2006

We Cut the Umbilical Cord

We took the plunge a couple weeks ago and got rid of our traditional landline telephone. Our home phone number was transferred to my cell phone, so I’m carrying around the “home” telephone. With the evolution of cellular phone plans that include long distance calling, we weren’t using our home telephone much – except to talk to local telemarketers. The primary use of our landline was high speed internet access. We moved our internet access to our cable television line. With the change in internet access, it didn’t make sense to keep paying for the landline. Nevertheless, it seems odd not having the connection. I grew up with landline telephones that were all corded, so it seems strange not to have one. I still walk in the door every day after work and glance at the answering machine to see if we received any messages. Old habits die hard.

I was lucky growing up – for many reasons. My mother worked for the telephone company so we had quite a few of the latest and greatest phone models. I remember thinking a Trimline phone was so cool in that you didn’t have to stand by the base to dial the phone – when you actually had to move your finger in a circular motion to dial the phone. You could dial in the palm of your hand. Touch tone service was even more amazing. Forget all that dialing and having to start over when your finger slipped. We also had the large, four prong jacks installed all over the house so we could move phones around as needed. And then there was the occasional “conference call”, usually when talking long distance to relatives, made by picking up secondary extensions after the main contact was made. But even with all this ‘fancy’ equipment, I still relied on my brain’s memory to store frequently called numbers. Otherwise I had to pull out a paper book to look up numbers.

How things have changed as the equipment has improved. Speed dialing or voice commands make calling so simple it’s rare to touchtone out a number and it’s sometimes hard to remember numbers I’ve entered in my contact list. Even basic cell phones have a speaker mode to facilitate simple conference calls like we used to do with multiple extensions. We decided on the LG VX9800 for our cell phone. It has a full qwerty keyboard built in that makes text messaging a snap! I can also check the news headlines and watch video clips of news stories.

I wonder how long it will take me to stop looking at our old answering machine when I come home.

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