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Friday, February 1, 2013


I've always disliked telephones, stemming from childhood when I was constantly teased by classmates. By junior high, and continuing through high school, this teasing expanded to include prank phone calls. As my maiden name was distinctive and rare, it was easy for the bullies to find my family's number. Boys would call for fake dates (I could hear their friends laughing in the background) and girls would call impersonating one of my friends, trying to get me to say things they could tease me about in person at school. After a few of those, I stopped answering our home phone and was pretty much "not home" when anyone called asking for me. If they left a name, and it was someone I allegedly knew, I'd call that person back. Half the time it hadn't been them.

I love caller ID. I got it a long time ago when an elderly and probably senile library patron in El Paso found out my last name (I was the only one in the whole city with that name) and began calling me AT HOME to ask library hours, then nag me to book an appointment with him (he was an eye doctor). I strongly dislike being rude to people, and besides I'm quite sure that if I had been, he would have complained to my supervisor. Caller ID was a Godsend. I'd see it was him and just not answer the phone. Heaven. I could also avoid telemarketers with that.

Given this background, it's no wonder that I didn't want a cell phone. I haven't got children, don't have a lot of emergencies, and having a device on me that enables anyone to contact me anytime is my idea of hell. However, after having been married for nearly 8 years, it started to soak through that one of these horrid little phones might be a pretty good idea. My Mom put her foot down when she found out I worked nights, and in what neighborhood, and made me get one. Last November.

I've got to say, it's coming in handy for coordinating with the husband. Still haven't had any emergencies. I keep it in my pocket on vibrate for two reasons: I can't hear the loudest ringtone my inexpensive phone can produce, and on the rare occasions when I did hear it, I couldn't get it out of my purse before it went to voicemail. Every time it goes off I jump and squeal. I wonder how long I'll have it before it stops startling me.

This phone has a little screen on it that lets me know who's calling. If it's no name or a name I don't recognize, I don't answer. However, since it's already made me jump and squeal, I do offer imprecations to whoever's making the junk call.

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