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House phones are going the way of the dinosaur

I was with some friends the other night, enjoying one of the first really nice warm nights of the season. Someone’s phone rang. We all instinctively reached for our purses and pockets. It turned out that the ringing phone was the old school home phone, but the conversation turned, naturally, to cell phones and cell phone bills.

One member of the party stated that he pays over $300 a month for his cell phone plan. He has five phones or five “lines” for himself and members of his family, and he pays for “data” for all of them.

“What’s data?” some of the less “tuned in” of us asked. It turns out data is another word for wireless service or the ability to channel the internet on one’s phone. Those of us with old “flip phones” were in awe at his phone bill.

I pay $49 a month for my cell phone. I think that is too much money. I don’t have family members on “lines” on my bill. It’s just me. When my family wanted cell phones, they got their own.

I like to think that I stay current with technology, but I have the suspicion that I am lagging behind. My cell phone is not a smart phone. It’s just a phone. I text. I make calls. It’s got a camera, but it can’t link photos to Facebook or Instagram. It just takes pictures.

I also have a house phone, which I also pay for. I’ve been trying to figure out why I have one phone hanging on the kitchen wall, and one that I carry with me everywhere I go. And why do I have two phone bills?

Forget data plans and lines. I’m already upset that I’m taking all my calls on the cell phone, and the house phone sits and gathers dust.

I know that for efficiency’s sake and for fiscal frugality, I should let one of these phones go. I don’t need two phones, unless I want to do an impersonation of Max Pies someday. For those too young to remember, the local carpet mogul, Max Pies used to have a commercial where he was talking on two phones at once.

So the logical choice would be to cancel the house phone and keep the cell phone. Many people use their cell phones for their primary phone. But part of me is reluctant to do that. I remember a time when people didn’t have cell phones. If a person wanted to talk to someone, they waited until they were near a phone. There was no instantaneous communication. And there was also no such thing as texting.

It was a quieter age. It seemed calmer. There were long periods of time when people couldn’t contact others. People worked, shopped, drove and went to restaurants without a phone on their ear.

I wish I had the guts to give up my cell phone and keep the house phone. But, what if there was an emergency? Wasn’t that one of the original reasons for having a cell phone? Because they were so great in an emergency? Even my job expects me to have my cell phone handy, in case they need to call. I can’t imagine telling them, that I’m sorry, but they’ll have to call my house phone.

It’s just not done anymore. So for now my dilemma continues. But at least I’m not paying for anything else besides the cell phone. I may need a phone around the clock, but I sure don’t need to be on the internet too.

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