It's hard to imagine that once upon a time someone actually declared the telephone "a worthless toy". And, I'm not talking about my husband, Davis, although if I asked he would probably agree. No, back when Alexander Graham Bell showcased his invention and tried to sell it to Western Union he and his speaking telegraph were ridiculed. Laughed at. If I had been there I would have embraced it with both hands. Through out the years, in all it's various forms, it's been the telephone that's never very far from my fingertips.
Back in the day phones came with a round dial. A finger poked into a hole bearing a number and had to spin the dial all the way around, wait for the spinning wheel to come back to it's original spot and then move onto the next one in the sequence. By the time a person got through all seven digits of a phone number they had forgotten who they were calling in the first place. And, talk about the colors - white, pea soup green and mustard yellow. When I was growing up we had one phone, a white one that sat in the dining room. Every conversation anyone had was listened to and commented on by everyone else in the house. Most of those comments consisted of, "Stop talking so loud, I can't hear the T.V.", "How much longer are you going to be? It's my turn." and "Hang up or I'm hanging up for you." All right, most of the time the comments came from me and were directed at my siblings. Except for the last one. That came from mom. And wasn't said so much as it was yelled. The day my parents installed a second phone jack in their bedroom and we were going to be able to have a conversation in total privacy was a happy day for the family. We all gathered around the man installing it and anxiously waited, arguing over who would get to be the first to use it. My mom won. She called my dad at work and said, "Hi, hold on a minute, I can't hear you over the kids. They're using the phone cord to tie each other up." Over the years we upgraded to keypads that could be pushed, phones in every one's bedroom, the cordless, and finally the amazing mobile cellular that was the size and weight of a half gallon of milk.
Then came the fateful day my husband and I decided that in the interest of saving money we would cancel the house phone and use just our cell phones. Which wasn't a problem in the beginning. We had thousands and thousands of minutes. Everything was going along fine until my friend began texting me. I resisted texting for a long, long time. Mostly because I felt like I was to old to say things like, "LOL" and "TTYL". Eventually, I taught myself how to text back and was hooked. I could text her all day long at work and never get in trouble for being on the phone. It was great. Until my husband opened our cell phone bill and let me in on a little secret. Our plan didn't include texts and all our conversations were costly. Hundreds of dollars costly.
So, we found a new plan that included unlimited texts but very few minutes. I haven't heard the voice of a loved one since. Texting does have it's draw backs. For instance, it's hard to decipher the tone of a voice from a text. Is that person being sarcastic? Or sincere? How will I know unless we text the words,
"Are you sure?"
back and forth the rest of the day? I am of course talking about a conversation that could apply to any I've had with my friend, sister, neighbor. All women. My texting conversations with the men in my life are a lot like the one I had with my husband recently while he was at work on break:
Me: "We have to figure something out with the fence. Echo has tried to get loose and attack the 2 Golden Retrievers behind us and the new puppy next door. And that was just in the past five minutes. Also, I realized that we don't have the cheese I need to make dinner. We aren't having enchiladas. I kind of feel like ordering a pizza, but we're trying to not eat out so much so what do you think? Milo got in an argument with me over doing his homework so he's grounded from video games. Make sure you don't let him play any. And don't forget tomorrow is my meeting at the library."
K?! That's it? I pour out my frustration over our wayward dog, belligerent son, lack of foresight in planning the dinner menu, question what we should about that and also a quick reminder while I was thinking of it, in a message that took four separate texts to transmit and in response I get a "K". In fact, I have received this "K" from both my brothers also.
The cell phone billing statement highlights the differences between my husband and I in a way that fourteen years of marriage has never managed to. I'm a talking, texting fool. My phone number is the one that uses up all the minutes we are allotted and has an embarrassing amount of texts going in and out. In contrast, his number has only a few calls listed, none of them lasting more than five minutes and the only texting done is in response to mine. They all say the same thing. K. And, we're k with that.