Everyone and his or her cousin George has a “smart phone.” This is a hand-held computer on which you cannot hear a human voice or detect what the party on the other end is saying, so you substitute texting — a form of encrypted communication requiring great thumb strength and high-power magnifying eyeglasses.

72-Mobile and Regular Phones_07

I own such a device, so I am part of the connected world. In spirit. I do not actually use the device. It mostly lives in my bag in a “powered off” state . It’s purpose is reassurance.  Garry can’t hear anything on it and I’m only nominally better. But, it’s there, just in case.

Whether or not I could use it to make a phone call (probably not) or contact emergency services (“I’m sorry, I can’t hear you … I think I’m losing the signal … hello? hello? Are you there?”), I’m nonetheless glad to help support our economy by paying for services I don’t use, and a device which is more annoying than useful.

But hey, we all gotta have one, y’know? Just in case. Oh, wait. I think I hear it ringing …

Gotta go!



  1. I would be lost without mine, it is my only connection when I am on my way somewhere. I do not even now have a land line. I am connected to FB, to WordPress. I have my complete medical records on it. If I go to the ER, which I did once, and they want to know my medications I just show them the page with it all. My Flickr photo connection is on it, I have two jazz radio stations, one Swiss, one Canadian. I have the complete Swiss radio stations and I have the local newspaper. I have the railway connections, LEO my online dictionary as well as Google,Skype, Twitter and Amazon and Kindle. I take it with me wherever I go. I need it. And of course for a few photos as well. We have a good connection where I live although there are a few valleys in the isolated parts of Switzerland where they have problems. And I use it to call someone and mostly have photos to go with the person I am calling. Marilyn you are also on my phone, only mail, but I have your photo as well (taken from your web site with my phone, hope you don’t mind 🙂 ). I love to play with my iPhone.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Part of the problem is that in this area, signals are not good and frequently, weak and fluctuating. It has a lot to do with the state of American infrastructure … and the lay of the land itself. When you live in a valley, signals are dicey. Not just this valley. All valleys. Mountains are also typically dead zones. I keep a cell with me because if there’s an emergency, I hope it can connect with someone … but you never know.

      Obama has repeatedly warned congress that the U.S. is far behind almost every other place on earth as far as connectivity goes. He’s right. Everywhere else, signals are better, faster, stronger. It takes a lot of the fun out of the phone when you can’t count on a stable signal. I feel lucky if I make a call and it goes through without fading out in the middle of the conversation.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I just love all these new gadgets. I was even going to get myself a smart watch, but settled for a new Windows computeri instead, because the watches are still not good enough. I have stayed with iPhone, but my youngest has had every model possible up to now, but I think he is now with Sony Xperia.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I’ve got a Samsung Google phone. It’s a pretty good phone. We just don’t live in an area with good signals and my close vision make using a very small device difficult, to say the least. I have trouble with my cameras too, these days. Senior eyesight is a real thing.


  2. I actually use my smart phone all of the time… even to make phone calls. I know! O_o The technology has improved a lot over the years and I hardly ever have dropped calls. Our house in New Mexico was something of a dead zone, but other than that, I’ve been pretty lucky with smart phones. Mostly, I use them to read or surf the internet while waiting for doctor’s appointments and such, but I think they’re handy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Where you live makes a huge different. Valleys are the worst places for connection. Something about the shape of the land interferes with signals. I live in a valley and wouldn’t you know it, our best friend in Connecticut AND western Massachusetts ALSO live in river valleys, so none of us have a decent, dependable signal. Trying to talk to each other on cells is hilarious. “Can you hear me? What? Can you repeat that? You’re fading … oh, you’re gone. Never mind.” Click.

      I use my Kindle the way you use your cell phone. It has the advantage of being big enough for me to actually read the words and while it isn’t a telephone, neither is my cell phone. Both do email. And I can store an entire library on the Kindle, so even if there’s no WiFi, there’s still lots on it to keep me busy while I wait.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have a Kindle too, but it’s too bulky for me to carry so I use it at home mostly. I sync my Kindle with my phone for use on the go. We also live in a valley (winters are awful because the smoke gets trapped here), but I suppose since we live close to Seattle that must make a difference with the phone signals. I dunno. I’m not hip to how it works.


        1. Mainly, it matter where the towers are. If they are not blocked by mountains or hills … or you have local towers which you probably do if your signal is that good, then it’s a lot easier. But also, for me, I can’t read those little tiny screen. They are too small for my eyes, with or without glasses. I bought a larger Kindle too. And I have the print on my laptop on large. Eyes get old.


        1. That’s the Walmart subsidiary, isn’t it? When our contract with ATT is up, I will check around. The problem is that around here, the geography works against us and past a point, it doesn’t matter who you sign up with — there are a lot of dead spots and weak signals.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. No, Straight Talk is the Walmart one…Net10 can be found in most stores including Walmart and most drug stores…at least down here. No contract with Net10 either…just pay as you go, different amounts and plans. Look them up on the web….


  3. I have my iPhone and use it for Facebook when I am at the market – I am the social media queen. It brings people down to us. It is great, until the battery decides to die on me. Most annoying. Anyway I don’t have a landline, only cell phone which is cheaper. They say that in the future, here in New Zealand anyway there will be no landlines, only cell phones. Generally we have good reception in most places.


    1. We have pretty awful reception all over New England. Mountainous, lots of valleys and not nearly enough towers where you need them. And our wifi is much slower than yours, too. Moreover, cell phones here are expensive. You can get a VOIP line on WiFi for $5/month — or free, if you get cable. You cannot get a cell for less than $60/mo (1 line). Two lines are almost the same price, however. Weird pricing.


  4. I only have a flip phone but it does for me. When I’m at home I often forget to turn it on assuming people will call me on the landline but if you are silly enough to give your mobile number to a business they will nearly always call that first. I try not to give mine out much. Reception here, also a valley, was horrible when we moved in. If I needed to use the mobile phone I had to stand on the side of the road but it has improved enormously in 14 years and I can use it anywhere in the house now if I want to. Usually I prefer the computer. I take the tablet out sometimes but it’s a bit bulky so usually only if I know I’ll want to check emails or read.


  5. I am exactly the same. If I can find the damn thing to put it in my purse and if it is charged up and if I can find it in my purse and if it is even turned on, I need to get to it before it stops ringing or buzzing or vibrating because I don’t know how to read texts or see who has called which doesn’t really matter because no one has my cell phone number anyway. So, as you, I have one because it suddenly seemed I needed one in case of emergency. The problem is, in case of emergency I dont’ think I know how to use it for alas, I was born too late!


    1. I feel like a hero if I can actually make a call. Send a text? Surely you jest. Also, maybe I really AM getting old, but doing simple things require such a lot of digging. It ought to be simple to make a call. You know. Dial the number and press GO. But it isn’t that simple. The few times I had to do it, it took me a long time and I wasn’t sure I could do it again. But I can field strip a computer and build a database using object linking … so I don’t think it’s just me. They have added so many functions to a small device that unless you use it a lot and are very familiar with it, it’s ridiculously complicated. The same issue I have with my cameras. TOO MUCH STUFF. I liked the early cell phones. You could use them to make phone calls. They had decent audio and they stayed connected.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. You speak for many of us. My friend Harriet and four of her friends all bought the same cell phone and hired a ten year old to give them lessons.. So funny. They meet for “lessons” and he is very organized and started at the very beginning. The first lesson they learned how to turn it on, etc…

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Garry and I were very early adopters of cell phones. We had cell phones before ANYONE else. But they were telephones. I bought the first one as a gift for Garry because he worked in the field; even 25 years ago, finding a working pay phone was hard. So we’ve been using cell phones since they became available and weighed 2 pounds and needed a hand truck to carry them.

          They aren’t PHONES anymore. They are mini computers that do everything EXCEPT make phone calls. I have cameras. I have computers. I wanted a portable TELEPHONE.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. We get lost. A lot. Because of cell phones, you couldn’t find a pay phone to save your life (literally). If you don’t have a phone, how could we can call our destination to ask them how to actually get there?


    1. Even the best of them are not what they could — SHOULD — be. Early cell phones had audio you could hear and they connected and STAYED connected. So more than 20 years later, the audio sucks and the signal is fragile. Some accomplishment.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. When Garry and I were working — and I had a more than 100 mile (each way) daily commute, we needed cell phones. They were lifelines for us. We don’t drive much now, unless we’re on vacation, so it’s an emergency device.

      If I want to really communicate, I’ll do it via email from the computer or on my VOIP phone at home. VOIP isn’t close to as good as the old landlines, but you can’t get a landline for an affordable price anymore. Some places, you can’t get a landline at all — just VOIP — which they are now calling landlines, but WE know they aren’t, really.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, they really are. The only place I know of where everybody has one is northern Maine where power outages are normal in the winter (they get an average snowfall of 12 feet every winter), so you absolutely need a real (not wifi-based) landline. Everywhere else? Around here, a real landline is almost $100/month. So we have a $4.99 VOIP line from Charter which is better than the cell, but not nearly as good as a real landline. I MISS telephones that work like telephones should!


  6. I loved the post but loved the comments as much. My husband has the flip phone that will work anywhere and everywhere. I have the smart phone and use it mostly for the camera, google, and all of my family members prefer texts to calls or emails. So, there I am, a woman who won many typing awards back in the day, trying to make my thumbs type on a three inch wide screen. Between the thumbs not wanting to type and the auto correct, it’s a tough job. I can barely use the phone, and I never remember to hit ‘end call’ and end up hearing the computer voice telling me to hang up. 🙂


    1. I maintain the problem isn’t that we don’t understand the technology. We understand it fine, but we don’t LIKE it. On top of everything else, my hands — after a lifetime of computers, typewriters, and pianos — are seriously arthritic. And then, of course, there’s auto-correct which means that even should I actually manage to type something, I usually have to fight for the right to say it the way I want to. ARRGH!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I am fighting a rearguard action, finding new batteries for my old mobile rather than buying a smartphone. How DARE they insist I pay 4 times more per month for functions I’ll never use? They’ll win in the end of course – bastards. Then I’ll have to get my grandson to teach me how to use it.


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