"Mazel tov it's a Cingular!"
In 1977, the cell phone was first developed for use on a major scale. 1991 marked an advancement in cell phones that resulted in widespread cell phone games and text messaging. Four weeks ago at seven in the morning, my friend called my cell phone to say that he was "really, really drunk" and "just thought I should know."
Yes, after years of avoiding all technological advances in communication, I finally bought a cell phone last month. I don't know what I've been so afraid of for all this time. Truly, this phone has made the world all that smaller for me. As well as severely reduced the portion of the clock that assholes can't bother me during.
A month ago, I bought it on kind of a whim. Okay, so "whim" is kind of an understatement. I really needed to call one of my friends and didn't want to walk to the courtesy phone on campus. Proving once and for all that I will, in fact, pay hundreds of dollars and sign a two-year contract just to avoid walking three blocks.
If I ever talk to a phone salesman again, I will most likely avoid using the phrase, "I know nothing about cell phones. I need the cheapest model that will dial long distance." Now I have a $500 phone that records pictures, music, and video, has GPS, and its own personal satellite launching in April. It might have other features, but the menus are too confusing to navigate through. Though underneath the battery case there's one piece that looks eerily like a "flux capacitor."
Things didn't go well after that first call to my friend. I'm not sure I was ready for the responsibility of having a phone. It's like having a very small mechanical baby. It makes noises all the time and I'm not sure why. I can't make it stop. "Why are you beeping? Is it a call? Do you need charging? Just tell me!"
My phone just has too many kinds of alerts. I've turned off the tone for incoming calls, new voice mail, missed calls, text messages, IM messages, multimedia messages, and a dozen other things. But the other day in class, my phone rang loudly because I got a "push message." I didn't know what it was, let alone how to answer it, so I just curled up in a ball and cried for the remaining half hour of class.
If the constant noises weren't bad enough, now the phone's started leaving mysterious little puddles on the floor.
Even after I've learned how to use the phone, actual calls have started to ruin things. My friends have always told me cell phones were great for staying in touch with friends. And it's true. No less than five times a day, someone will call me to say someone else isn't picking up their phone, and asking me if I know what's going on. My phone is perfect for my friends to stay in touch with their other friends.
By the time I learned to just turn off my phone to avoid calls, I got my first bill. I have Cingular's "$39.99-a-month plan." Shockingly enough, this plan cost me $92.79. Now it's not like I've ever claimed to be a math scholar, but I know when two numbers aren't the same.
I kind of want to call up Cingular and complain, but I'm not sure what I would tell them. I doubt it would surprise them to learn that 92.79 isn't the same as 39.99. And if they're not good at numbers, I'm not sure if I want to waste any of my 400 anytime minutes. Especially when, in reality, "400" probably means "27."
Notwithstanding all this, for the past year, I've actually had no phone at all. So this is pretty nice. If nothing else, it definitely beats the old system of people chasing me down, tackling me, and sitting on my chest while they yell their messages at me.
The very best thing about my phone is that it's revolutionized the way I ignore people I don't want to talk to. I think voicemail is hilarious in that it's deceptively one of the rudest things you can do to people. Could you imagine if someone was about to start to talk to you in person and you just told them to give you a summary of what they wanted to say? Yet I do it two to three times a night by phone and it's perfectly acceptable.
I'd like to quickly apologize for getting this issue out late. So, sorry that this issue is two weeks later than my usual schedule. In addition, I'd like to quickly apologize for the three year lateness of this column after all other comedians had bought their first cell phones and driven all jokes about them into the ground. What can I say? I'm a latecomer. But it was either this or my ICQ issue.