Hello, my name is Kyle Ann, and I am dependent on my cellular phone.”
I gaze around the room at the faces nodding in complete understanding. They, too, are attached to inanimate objects. This is my first meeting for People Dependent on Machines. Of course I’m not the only one at the meeting, because the technology craze isn’t going away any time soon; it’s just getting started.
I admit it: I am reliant on my cellular phone. Before that I was attached to my pager, and before that I was stuck on my voice mail. Of course, some of you may be too young to remember these antiquated machines, but not too long before my dependency on voice mail was my link to my answering machine — not the high-tech, digital kinds some people still use today, but rather the old, miniature tape recording type that cut off my friends in the middle of their sentences. Oh, how I loved that machine.
But now I am super high-tech. In the past three years I have moved up the ladder of machine addiction to my present state of complete dependence on my dual-band cellular phone — the one possession holding the key to my existence as I now know it. And I’m not alone.
Although they might not admit it, I have several friends just like me — we swore we’d never get pagers. Yeah, right. We then vowed never to succumb to cellular phones. I told myself: “OK, I have a pager; it’s not like I have a cell phone. The pager is enough, right?” Well, look where that got me.
My friends joined the technologically advanced bandwagon and started getting cellular phones. My parents got car phones and cell phones. And there I was, stuck with my measly little pager. But not for long. I got my cellular phone in December. Since then, it has become my attachment — a shadow that does not leave my side. My cell phone is my connection to life, to my friends, family, even work.
You can see how one in my position might go a little crazy if, hypothetically speaking, one were to lose the machine attached to their body like it was cemented on with super glue.
All right, I confess. This isn’t hypothetical at all.
It is only too sad and too real. I lost my cell phone last week. What a horrid experience! I was livid with disgust at myself for having been such a complete flake to have left my phone in my classroom. Yes, I bring my phone to class, but I am not the annoying person whose phone goes off in the middle of your lecture; I turn my ringer off.
After my initial shock and anger at myself for having been such an absent-minded idiot, I went back to the classroom to find the chairs rearranged and the phone missing! I called the appropriate people, suspended the phone’s service and bemoaned my loss. My connection to life as I knew it was missing, and I actually went through withdrawal.
I sat and lamented the sad state of the world today. People are taking phones left in classrooms and not turning them in to the lost and found. These meandering thieves leave the phones’ owners to flounder because all of their connections, numbers of friends overseas and links to everyone about whom they care are sitting in the memory of that little cell phone. I didn’t have a hard copy of all my numbers. Oh, no. Why would I need one? I had all 87 of my important numbers stored in my cell phone.
I felt as if part of me had been ripped out. It was as if someone had cut the rope in the middle of a tug-of-war contest. I was without my connection to all other beings. I could no longer be reached; I could no longer reach others. The worst part of it was that I could not live without that little plastic-encased piece of machinery. After waiting only three days for a call stating that my phone had been turned in, I gave up. I went through my withdrawal and moved on. I relented. I bought a replacement.
Yes, now I have a new cell phone and it is as if nothing ever happened — the number of my old phone was easily switched over to my new one and I laboriously asked all my friends and colleagues for their numbers again. All the information in my old phone is now in my new one. However, through this experience I realized how dependent I really am on that little technological device.
It still comes with me like my shadow, but it is now not my lifeline. I made a paper copy of the phone number list. I almost want to make a conscious effort to become my own person, minus my little cell phone addiction. I know this would be an difficult feat to accomplish, but hey, I might give it a shot!
On second thought, I don’t think so. Yes, I am taken with my cell phone. Yes, I use it too much and am too reliant on it. But it’s my cell phone!
As I was writing this, I received a call informing me that my wayward cell phone had been found and I could come pick it up. So everything is back to normal, I have a cell phone — plus a spare — and I have faith that there are good, caring, honest people who turn in missing cell phones. I also learned a great lesson out of this ordeal: Maybe I shouldn’t be so attached to an inanimate object.
But who really cares! Although I concede that I am too dependent, there is no way I am letting that thing out of my sight again. People have addictions to many things, and I don’t think that mine is so terrible.
Plus, there’s always time to change later if I decide I really shouldn’t depend so much on an inanimate object. For now, though, if you want to talk, ring up that beautiful little mechanical unit I have glued to me.
Kyle Ann Christian is a senior copy editor at the Daily. She can be reached for comments at [email protected]