The letter from the cell phone company was tactfully worded. It informed me politely that analog service was being discontinued and I might have “limited signal availability outside of my home service area.”
Or, as the letter might have said, “This is the 21st Century, for crying out loud! Don’t you think it’s about time to drag yourself out of the Dark Ages and get a new phone?”
Okay, okay. I’d been intending to get a new cell phone anyway. Even if my old one was only six or seven years old. Yes, I do understand that, in technology years, seven is ancient. But the phone still worked. I had only dropped it maybe a couple of dozen times, so the surface didn’t have that many dings and cracks. True, jostling around against all the other stuff in my purse for several years had left scratches on the screen, but it was still readable, more or less. Besides, I still hadn’t gotten around to figuring out how to use the speed dial feature. It was always my intention to read the directions someday—assuming that, after all this time, I could remember where I put the manual.
Anyway, I finally bowed to the inevitable and got a new phone. And that’s all it is—a phone. I can’t take pictures with it. I can’t play games on it. It doesn’t flip open to a miniature keyboard so I can send text messages. (I think I could do text messaging on it; I just can’t imagine why I would want to.) I can’t check email on it. I can’t even download umpteen cute ring tones with which to annoy my fellow patrons at the public library.
Much as I hate to admit it, this is a phone for mature adults. The numbers show up on the screen in print large enough for me to see without my reading glasses. The “quick start” manual that came with it is written in a chatty, condescending tone intended for the technologically challenged.
All right, I’ll acknowledge being a mature adult. I’ll even admit that the large print is helpful. But I resent the implication that, because I want a plain and simple phone with which to make old-fashioned phone calls, I am a Luddite. I’m not.
A Luddite is someone who is anti-technology. The term (after a man named Ned Ludd) grew out of the industrial revolution in England in the early 1800’s. Textile workers, their livelihood threatened by new looms and other machines, rioted, attacked factories, and destroyed machinery. As they discovered the hard way (some of them were executed), when it comes to technology, resistance is futile.
I’m certainly no Luddite. True, I did write the first draft of this article with a pen on old-fashioned lined paper. On the other hand, I used to build computers, “with my bare hands,” as a friend puts it. I would give up my laptop and my email only if someone pried my cold, dead fingers off the keyboard. Besides, I just used the Internet to look up “Luddite.”
I’m not anti-technology; I’m just too stubborn to read the directions. But there’s hope—I’ve only had my new cell phone for a week, and I’ve already figured out how to use the speed dial.