Our decision was prompted in large part by the fact that we live in a swing state and, for the past several months, our home phone line was being besieged by robocalls sharing the latest scandal about a Senate candidate, campaign workers calling to ask for money, and pollsters interested in our position on everything from Romney’s tax plan to the Obama administration’s handling of the terrorist attack in Benghazi. Between the election-related calls and the usual slate of telemarketers and wrong numbers, the ratio of calls we wanted to calls we didn’t was, literally, about 1 to 20.
The campaign season cemented a decision we’d been creeping toward for awhile now, slow as ever to follow the tide when it comes to adapting new approaches to technology. And so it was with a happy heart and the promise of a heavier wallet that I called our phone provider to cut our ties.
This was a big move for Husband who is, in many ways, a modern-day Luddite: sure, he uses a laptop every day for work and he loves the DVR as much as I do, but he doesn’t text, he doesn’t tweet, he’s not on Facebook, and, until a few weeks ago, no one had his cellphone number except for me – and I only used it for emergencies and when he was out of town. So he’s not only adjusting to not having a home phone, but also to using a cellphone at all.
For me, it’s been both a practical change and a surprisingly emotional one. I’m realizing the benefits and drawbacks of having our family’s primary phone be in my pocket all the time, whether I’m at home hanging out with the kids or looking for solitude while out on a run. I’ve also been thinking about the change that this represents not just for our family, but also for a generation of kids who won’t ever remember dialing a phone that’s attached to a cord. Packing up our kitchen phone and answering machine conjured up memories of the white, wall-mounted dial phone in my parents’ kitchen that was attached to my ear for much of 1990 and 1991, and the beige touch tone phone that lived in our spare room. When I was in high school I bought an extra-long cord for it so that I could drag it across the hall to the privacy and comfort of my bedroom.
It seems quaint now, the idea of a whole family sharing one phone number, a sister nagging her brother to get off the phone so she can use it. But I’m not sure it’s all bad – having everyone just a bit more in each other’s business, giving kids an out from being constantly available. So I’m not getting rid of our old phone. I’m going to hang on to it until my kids are old enough to make and receive their own calls, just in case I feel like letting the times go one way while we go another.
Are you still hanging on to your landline phone?