I've often wondered if maybe there wasn't some massive cosmic mixup when I was born, that perhaps I was supposed to have existed a half-century or so before I did.
I say this because there are a lot of things I don't get about life in 2008; things that seem to be of extreme importance to other people but don't matter at all to me. Example: cell phones.
I will be the first to admit I'm not the most social person in the world. That's not to say I'm not friendly when you see me on the street; quite the opposite, in fact, I hope. But by "non-social" I mean given the choice between going to a party on a Saturday night and staying home reading, writing or watching television with my family, I will always pick the latter.
That, combined with the fact that I have three children, means when the phone rings it is rarely for me anyway, so most of the time I simply ignore it - the telephone is nothing more than a necessary evil to me. I carry a cell phone so that if one of my kids runs out of gas, he or she can call me and I can come pick them up; or if the plumbing under the kitchen sink springs a leak, my wife can let me know and I can rush home and crawl under the sink and pretend I know what I'm doing.
This makes it all the more amazing to me when I see people with cell phones pressed to their ears all day. Shopping, walking, driving down the highway, eating dinner - it seems there is a certain portion of the population to which the idea of doing anything without describing that activity while they do it to some disembodied person on the other end of a radio wave is unthinkable.
First off, I can't imagine having that much to say. To anyone, including my wife, who I think would agree my conversation is not so scintillating that listening to me jabber on all day at the other end of a cell phone would be her idea of a good time. Or even bearable.
And secondly, how is it possible even to have that much to say? I like to think I'm reasonably creative and at least marginally intelligent, but most of the time when I'm driving down the road, I'm thinking about...driving down the road! Does anyone really need to hear me talking about it? Giving a play-by-play? "I'm turning on to Route 102 now. It's beautiful day here in New Hampshire, folks, and - Hey! A bird! A bird just flew by!"
Cell phones are a wonderful invention, don't get me wrong. I can't imagine one of my kids being broken down on the side of the road, alone, at night, without being able to contact me or someone else for help. Beyond that, though, who needs it?