I tried something this month that I hadn't tried for the past seven or eight years, I put in a landline phone.
It's not like I had been surviving with no phone at all, which sounds wonderful, but impossible to do when I get frequent phone calls from the elementary school telling me that my son feels sick to his stomach, again. So for the past several years, I have only had a cellphone, something I believe to be the norm for people my age, and getting more and more frequent across all age groups.
There are exactly four people that I talk to on the phone: the secretary at Bellview Elementary School, the staffing coordinator at my work and my parents. Everyone else I almost exclusively text. I probably wouldn't call my parents either, but they forced my hand on that by canceling the texting service on their cellphone plan. Tricky people my parents are; smart, but very tricky. I also have called my sister under some emergency situations, such as when I'm running low on ice cream and I know she's at the store.
The landline phone wasn't done as a way to cut back on my number of billable minutes on my cellphone plan. I did it for the original first-world problem — spotty cellphone tower coverage at the place where I live.
Most of the time the spotty coverage doesn't bother me. I've learned that if someone says "what?" more than three times in a conversation, I should move and talk somewhere more toward the front of my house. Sometimes, in the exact same location of my house, which is usually my bed because I spend the majority of my time there, I'm "roaming."
I have no idea why within minutes my phone can stay in the exact same location and switch back and forth from "roaming" to normal coverage. Understanding technology, even the technology that I live with and use daily, is something I've never learned anything about, sort of like my times tables. Like learning my times tables, it's just not information I've ever found the need to use on a daily basis so I let it slip right out of my brain.
The other problem that I've had with my cellphone is that my mother complains she can't understand me. I sincerely believe that this is because I don't enunciate and she usually calls right after or during a nap, rather than a problem with my cellphone. It doesn't matter what time of the day you're calling me, I'm probably either preparing for, taking or recovering from a nap.
For a month now, I've had a landline phone. I didn't give the phone number to anyone other than my parents because I wasn't sure if I would like it and didn't want to bother changing my number back on every form in the universe if I decided that I hate it.
Well I hate it. I never recognize when it's ringing, I can't carry it around the house (I bought myself a cheap phone, not one of those new-fangled cordless phones) and after I run down the stairs to answer my phone it's invariably a telemarketer or political pollster.
I've only had one phone call that lasted more than a minute. It was a particularly persistent telemarketer trying to sell me a home security system.
"No," and "No thank you," seemed to mean in telemarketer lingo "please go on and tell me more about this," so I had to eventually admit to this stranger that I had absolutely nothing worth stealing in my entire house.
If that was a burglar disguising himself as a telemarketer to size up my house (an excellent strategy, now that I think about it), then I certainly threw him off the track of my 8-year-old computer and the cheapest television money can buy.
Zoe Abel is canceling her landline service and sticking with what she (sort of) knows, the cellphone. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.