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Being a Flintstone in a world full of Jetsons

My family lives in a technological vacuum. I can't count the number of times I am asked for my cell number. Every time I say I don't have a mobile phone, people react the same: amusement that gives way to astonishment that ends in bewilderment.

I do have a cell phone, sort of. My husband gave it to me about three weeks ago. I kept it on until the battery died and I've never bothered to recharge it. The only call I received originated from my husband who said "Hey, it works!" The only call I made was to said groom to say "I'm running late. Can you start dinner?"

I doubt that phone call was the kind for which he hoped.

The babysitter claims she tried to call me, but that I wrote down the wrong number. Evidently, she handled the situation in question without me, because when I arrived home I counted four children and found no trace of trauma.

So, if my phone didn't serve me in an emergency, when exactly would I need it?

My husband seems to know when to use his cell. He called me five times from the grocery store last night to verify, question and get interpretation of the list I sent with him. I suppose if he had come home with Liver instead of London Broil, I would have wondered why he didn't call.

But, as fate would have it, we don't have a cordless phone, either. Well, we did, but the battery died on it also, last November, and I have learned to live without it. This, necessarily, means that I am tethered to the wall during all telephone engagements.

Worse than that, we only have two phones in our whole house: one upstairs in the laundry/office/sunroom that the computer uses to dial up the internet (that's how cave people do it), and one downstairs in the kitchen. Any time the phone rings, and it only rings three times before voice mail answers (also probably outdated), my spine straightens and I begin a bionic woman sprint (complete with slow motion and sound effects), leaping toys, dodging slow moving children, and vaulting furniture, from the far corners of the map.

I breathlessly answer "Hello."

(Wow, I think I just figured out why my husband called me so many times from the food mart. This, I imagine, is precisely the kind of call for which he had hoped). Last night I did my Lindsey Wagner impersonation so I could tell my husband that, yes, I intentionally left creamer off the list.

I admit, I took advantage of the easy access communication myself, while he shopped for sustenance. I rang him up as he stood on the Manager's Special aisle eagerly eyeing what he thought represented dynamic discounts on items we don't need. I asked him to please purchase instant rice and a bag of sugar.

Cell phones, it seems, offer one way communication only. When he failed to bring home my requested pantry staples, he tried to mollify me with six bags of manager's special dill pickle chips.

I guess for me it's all or nothing. Until I can live like the Jetsons and have my voice activated supermarket sweeper stock my pantry, I'll remain a Flintstone.

(Honey, if you're reading this, please don't call me from the grocery store anymore, unless you've got your fingers caught in the check out conveyor belt and the shopping cart fell on you. If you can't get up, then use your speed dial, and I will breathlessly offer you sympathy until the paramedics arrive.)



Web posted on Thursday, September 2, 2004


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