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Communication has changed so much in my lifetime. The fact that we had two rotary telephones hanging on walls in my house was pretty impressive. We only had one television!

It was a small black and white box with bunny ear antennae. Not only did someone have to perform yoga to get the antennae to work, we had to get up to change the channel! True story. We had a black and white TV and we walked to school uphill in the snow with no shoes. TV’s back in the day required viewers to physically cross the room and twist the large knobs. With only a handful of channels to choose from it didn’t take long to realize it was time to go outside and play.

We didn’t get on the phone first. Back in the day kids knocked on doors. Then we would screw our face into a combination of pathetic pleading and wistful hope as we asked if our friends could play. Phones! Phones were for adults, teenagers, and the grounded child who couldn’t play.

My friend across the street called every single day of my one week grounding when I was in kindergarten. I had left the house to walk to school with some friends. My mom was in the shower or something and I didn’t figure she would mind if I just left early. Like a couple hours early! When she found me she hid her relief in measured anger as she grounded me for a week. I deserved it.

Anyway, Jodi called every day. We would look at the calendars on our respective walls and count down the days until my release.

Somewhere along the lines we picked up a touchtone phone for the kitchen. It was great to say goodbye to the avocado green rotary wall phone. The black rotary phone still hung on the wall downstairs. It was just inside the doorway at the base of the stairs. I found that comforting in case any monsters grabbed me when I was down there. Given the condition of our basement, grabby monsters were a real possibility.

The touchtone keypad was on the bottom of a large, white, country duck. The phone even quacked when it rang. My dad had a long winded conversation with his boss one night. When he got off the phone he said something to the effect of, “I just finished talking to a horse’s butt on a duck’s butt!” Or something a little more colorful.

Novelty phones. My parents also had a pink Cadillac phone in their bedroom. I can’t remember if it was ever hooked up or if it was just displayed in there. My sister found that phone in the back of some closet in my dad’s house. Our eyes lit up at the memory.

I was in college before I had Caller ID. My roommates decided it was worth paying a little extra on the bill so we didn’t have to take messages for each other. A few years later Heath and I learned that Caller ID had an expiration date. The phone would ring and names would show up that didn’t make any sense.

Heath called the phone company to figure out what was going on. They didn’t believe him at first. So he just said with the straightest face, “Unless my mother in law is hiding in a closet with my cell phone calling my home number, there is a problem with the Caller ID!” My sister and I were laughing so hard we had to leave the room. The tears flowing down our cheeks kept us from wetting our pants.

Cell phones were game changers weren’t they? The first project I was a telemarketer for in college was for Houston Cellular. The script was peppered with the word cellular. It’s a word I was not good at saying. The two L’s in the middle of the word were hard for me to say correctly!

With cell phones becoming more mainstream, the word cellular hadn’t been shortened to cell yet. I tripped over my tongue every night trying to convince retired couples they needed a cell phone in case they were ever stranded in the mountains. Ha! As if there would be any reliable service up there! It was a scripted rebuttal I was expected to use though.

Heath bought me my first cell phone. I used it to accept text messages from him that his plane had landed. That was the signal for me to pack up Baby Gavin in his car seat and leave my mom’s house to pick up Heath.

He would upgrade my phone every so often and I wouldn’t use it. I used my T Mobile phone the most. Every time the commercial came on I thought my phone was ringing. Then when we moved to California I had to practically sit in the window in the master bedroom to get enough of a signal to carry on a conversation. I really hated that. Especially since my friends would rather call my cell number. It was a local number and therefore free to them.

zach morris cell phoneCell phones have taken over the world now. Everyone has a cell phone. What I find interesting is how size matters in cell phones. There were the old 80’s bricks that a fraction of the population had access to. Bricks are worthy of ridicule.

zoolander phoneThen we went through a phase where phones were getting smaller and smaller. Think of Zoolander and Ben Stiller holding a tiny little phone shaped button to his ear. Smaller is better right?

fablet

These are Heath’s phones. Guess which one he upgraded to? Actually it was the one on the left. The one that is the size of a house. The one that you can watch your favorite sitcom or drama on and the actor’s faces are lifesize. The one that is almost as big as the silver screen otherwise known as IMAX movie theaters!

It’s called a phablet. The name for the love child of a phone and a tablet. As if anyone needs this monstrosity in their back pocket! It’s a total guy thing anyway. Women can barely fit their large smart phones in their skinny jeans as it is. I joke that I’m a tiny little woman. I’m really not. And I can’t fit this thing in my back pocket. Not even close. I have seen women’s purses smaller than this phone. I imagine any woman who carries this phone around does so in a large backpack and even then she needs a back brace.

That’s the problem with cell phones. Everyone has one. They have become indispensible. I used to find my cell phone in some remote corner of the house completely out of battery. Why charge a device that allows people to reach me at all times! Now I can’t imagine even going to the park without my phone. What if someone tries to text me and I’m not there to respond! That would be tragic. My phone is now permanently connected to my hip.

As much as my family makes fun of me for becoming a purse person there is no purse that is appropriate for playing at the park. Or bike riding. In the back pocket the phone goes then. My only alternative is a fanny pack and let’s face it, that is not an option.

The cell phone has changed communication forever. Texting, tweeting, Facebook status updating, Skyping, and the occasional phone call. We cannot live without this technology that entertains in the waiting room at the doctor’s office or keeps kids quiet in the grocery store. Which is why we bought one for Gavin.

I know. I can’t believe we did it either. But the world has changed. Kids no longer walk to other people’s houses to communicate. They now text that dinner is ready to other family members in the same house. How could I let my kid not get in on that action? I’m joking of course. I got it because I am a mother. Worrying comes with the territory.

Gone are the days when parents could send their kids out for the day, not caring where they went so long as they came home in time for dinner. I am the cab driver, the bus driver, the personal assistant, and the tutor. I am the mother. The other two never leave my sight. Until they get out of my car. With society’s careful training to not let kids take more than ten steps alone, I figure they’re okay when I’m not around.

Gavin is another story. He takes the actual bus. The city bus. By himself. I don’t worry about that as much as the fact that the bus has proven to be completely unreliable. It feels like I had to get my kid a phone. Not getting him a phone is the equivalent of sending him scuba diving in just a bathing suit. He has to be prepared for life. In today’s terms that means he needs a cell phone. Or I need him to have a cell phone so I can do the micromanaging mom thing discreetly. “Call me when you get there!”

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