So now that we’ve eliminated the “scared and distrustful of cell phones” arguments, what are the real reasons why I’ve never gotten a cell phone:
1. Cost. Sorry, but price is a factor. Oh, sure, I know I can get a brand new phone for free or practically nothing if I sign up for a great plan. But plans are pricey. By the time I read through the fine print, I’m racking up money that could be better spent on a dinner out with the missus or an out-patient procedure. I don’t know how people with low or no income manage to have cell phones. It’s a budget-strainer for us.
2. Necessity. Confession time: I used to have a cell phone. I inherited a “pay-as-you-go” phone from someone who upgraded to a fancier unit with a great (read: “more expensive”) plan. And it was simple: all I had to do was “top it off” regularly.
During the six months I had the phone, I believe I made two phone calls and received one. Meanwhile, the money in my “top off” account slowly dwindled until I got an urgent message on my cell, email, and home phone reminding me to “top it off” again. So I topped it off. And over days and weeks of not using it, my phone balance would continue to fade into oblivion until I put more money into it.
The conclusion was simple: why keep throwing money into a phone that I never used? So I quit using it. The company eventually quit reminding me to “top it off.”
3. Necessity 2. Do I need to be accessible 24/7? I am a children’s pastor, true. But rarely has a need arisen in which I had to be tracked down instantaneously. I’m still as busy as ever, but those who need to get a hold of me know how to get a hold of me. And if I’m not there, just leave a message or drop me an email or dm me on Twitter. After all, if I was driving, in a theatre, or in a church service, you’d have to wait for me to retrieve a message anyway.
4. Inconvenience: I remember the days of television antennas that, through diverse contortions and configurations, had to be adjusted for the best picture. I’ve seen people in grocery stores go through similar gymnastics with the ubiquitous “Can you hear me now?” catchphrase echoing up and down the aisle. I don’t want to get to the good part of a conversation only to lose the connection.
As I mentioned above, I will likely own a cell phone one day. As my wife and I have discussed, there are some great reasons to own a cell phone:
1. Accessibility: True, I rarely need to be reached right away, but there are times when I’ve forgotten to put something on the shopping list and my mental telepathy to my wife doesn’t reach. It would be nice to simply call her up. Ditto with schedule changes or last minute visits.
2. Emergencies: The best reason for a cell phone is for the unexpected crises that come in our lives. No debate here.
3. Convenience: I was on my way to do a wedding at a residence, but I got lost. It would have been nice to be able to call the family and ask for directions.
4. Instant communication: As a computer-based Twitterer, I often have to wait until a break in my schedule or time at home in order to update my friends on what I’m doing at the moment. I have long admired my friends who write things like, “Stuck behind a rock waiting to shoot my paintball rifle” or “The speaker just made an incredible point.” Being able to update everyone in real time would be fun.
5. Camera: Not sure I need everything that the modern cell phone has to offer, but there are times I just want to take a picture, upload it, and write a funny caption like “Eating at a restaurant with BibleMan and the waiter can’t tell us apart LOL”
What do I want in a cell phone?
5. Something that doesn’t cost a lot of money to maintain
Recommendations? Rebuttals? Free offers?
Stay tuned for updates.