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Point & Click

It wasn’t too long ago when the only people who carried pagers day and night were professionals whose jobs dealt with life-and-death situations.Remember that? Pagers were the precursors of today’s cell phones. Back then, once in a while, you might hear the beep of a pager go off in a movie theater or a restaurant, and you’d see a doctor or a firefighter hurry toward an exit to attend to a true emergency.That’s sure not the case today. Cell phone use is so prevalent in our society that people can actually get offended if the common Joe or Josephine can’t be reached by his or her cell phone.I think that’s too bad. More and more, techno-gadgetry is making life more convenient, but also more cumbersome. Remember life before answering machines? You’d call somebody, and if they weren’t there, well, then you’d call them again later on. And again. And again. Sooner or later, you’d get them. Or not. Life went on. But now, the concept of always being accessible, at least by your answering machine, leaves no wiggle room. When was the last time you called someone and just got “Ring… ring… ring… ring… ring” – nothing? It’s unheard of. The same thing is happening with cell phones. It’s instant communication above all else. We’re all at the mercy of these ringing machines, instead of the other way around. What’s happened to determining what really constitutes an emergency? What happened to setting priorities or just not being able to reach somebody? So what? What’s happened to the beauty of not being able to be reached – if just for a couple hours? Is the world really going to spin off its axis if no one can get a hold of me for an hour or so? We all know the answer – absolutely not. I’ll agree that cell phones can be mighty convenient. It’s great to be able to call someone you’re trying to meet with to let them know where you are, or that you might be running late, or whatever. But now that everybody, practically, has their own cell phone, it’s like we’re all expected to be instantly reachable no matter where we are. Drop everything. My phone is ringing. Ick. Twenty years ago, I was an office manager at an environmental foundation. I handled about six telephone lines coming into the place, and was on the phone answering, holding and transferring calls much of the day.My ability to deal with phones prompted one of my co-worker friends to give me a little cartoon that I put up on my office bulletin board. It was a drawing of a man who had a phone receiver sewn to his ear and mouth and it said, “I’ve decided to surgically implant my phone directly onto my head.” Today, that’s not far off. Have you seen people with cordless cell phone headsets hanging off their ears? I’m notoriously bad about my cell phone. I do have one, but I use it when I choose to, and not vice versa. I don’t do this to be rude, but my supposed improper cell phone use really irks some folks. “I can never reach you on your cell phone,” they’ll complain. Well, oh well. I just don’t think I’m that incredibly important that I need to be tracked like a flipping homing pigeon day and night. There really isn’t a solution to this. I’m not going to have my cell phone on and attached to my belt 24/7. It’s nothing personal, though. I’m just not a doctor, nor a firefighter. Carrie Click is the editor and general manager of The Citizen Telegram in Rifle, citizentelegram.com. She wonders if Alexander Graham Bell would walk around with a hands-free cell phone headset if he were alive today. You can reach Carrie on her land line at 625-3245, ext. 101, cclick@citizentelegram.com.


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