I don’t own a cell phone. I understand that I’m in the minority of my age bracket, as most twenty-two year old Americans own a cell phone, but I have my reasons for foregoing the handheld computing devices. As much as I try to deny it, I’m a cheap bastard. If I have the opportunity to save money by not buying something, I will 9 out of 10 times. Cell phones have always felt like extra to me; I have a house phone and don’t see the need to talk to people when I’m not at home. Sadly, things like having “a life” and recently getting a new job have pushed me towards the possibility of buying a cell phone, as it would help me keep in contact with people who need to contact me no matter where I am. I’m still reluctant, even though I would consider myself someone who is fairly tech savvy and I wanted to explore why that’s the case.
The biggest reason for not having a phone that I can think of is that they’re hardly ever used as phones anymore. Most of the time that I see my friends using their phones they are searching something on google, checking their Facebook or listening to music. Even if they want to use their phone to communicate with another human being they’re often doing so through texting rather than speech, which irks me. If I buy a phone, it will be one that is only capable of taking and making calls for that very reason.
My current system is fairly simple. I have a house phone that I screen. If you don’t leave a message then I won’t pick up the phone or get back to you. This ensures that I don’t pick up the phone every time every telemarketer or local bathtub salesman wants my attention and that I only call back people that I actually want to talk to. The problem is that a lot of my friends are so socially awkward that they don’t want to leave a message on my home phone for fear that someone other than myself will listen to it. How that makes any sense in their heads boggles mine, but, beyond the odd person that doesn’t leave a message, the system works. My jobs in the past have allowed me a fair bit of leniency in this regard, as if my old boss needed me to cover for someone, then he could kindly find someone else if I was not around, but I recognize that our relationship was one that is not normal. Having prospective employers call my home phone is a tad awkward, especially considering a boss might need to contact me in an emergency regardless of whether I am home or not. If I’m going to hold a job that requires more of me than an entry level minimum-wage smuckfest, then I’m probably going to need a phone.
A lot of my friends have also commented that I need a phone because I’d be easier to get in contact with. Obviously that’s the case, but I think they miss an important factor in my decision to not have a cell phone; I often don’t like being contacted. If I’m on a hike in the woods with a friend, I don’t want people badgering me about games or whether or not I want to get IHOP. If I’m home I’ll gladly talk with someone, but if I’d much rather my answering machine be taking the calls for me. Leaving a message isn’t hard to do and it allows me to get back to whomever called at my leisure. That’s one hell of a perk, if you ask me.
I’m curious to know what you guys think: am I the only person on earth that doesn’t have a cell yet? Am I just being a grumpy old bastard? If I buy a phone, what kind of phone should I get?