Everyone I know is cutting their connections to wired communication devices these days. Cable television service? Snip! Satellite TV? Snip! Telephone landline? Snip! That last one scares and horrifies me. Well, actually they all do. I cannot imagine functioning without my landline and relying on my cellphone alone. First of all, I would have to learn how to turn my cellphone on. Then, I would probably have to program in a bunch of friends’ numbers and set up voice mail, both involving learning curves that present more challenges than I am prepared to face.
There are several reasons why I refuse to cut wired telecom services but the main one is I’m so afraid that nothing will work as well as what I am used to. Old ladies do not like change. And, it’s not just me. If my husband should ever be unable to get the Velocity car channel or any of his six thousand sports channels, the blame would fall squarely on my shoulders and that’s a bridge too far.
I do have an Amazon Firestick which I am reasonably successful in using to stream old movies and British television shows. But, I always have cable service to fall back on if the Firestick gives me grief, which it often does. I have Netflix, Prime, Crave and Bell’s Fibe TV, all the side dishes, but I’m still afraid to cut the cord.
I am embarrassed to reveal how much our household spends each month on cable tv, internet, landline telephone service and two cellphones, only one of which is actually used. Not that long ago I had mortgage payments that cost less. Even my hydro bills which I am always complaining about give me more bang for my buck in terms of providing services that make life easier. Is it just Canada or are telecom services ridiculously overpriced everywhere?
Life in the digital fast lane has way too many confusing off-ramps, side trips and unusable megabytes of bandwidth for me and far too many options for me to learn, much less master. I might still use my cellphone occasionally if I still had my dear little no-frills flip phone but they stopped supporting it and cut me off. Every so often I promise myself that I’m going to ask someone to show me how to text (don’t laugh – I can hear you howling whaaat?), but it’s just too intimidating.
Frankly, I’ve never missed not having the ability to text. The biggest obstacle to my moving forward technologically is a matter of function. Tell me again why I actually need to text someone. I do not have children that I need to be in constant contact with and if my husband is not at the golf course, he’s usually in the next room so I simply yell for him. For those times I send him to the store for bread and milk and he needs further instructions about what to purchase (which sometimes means half a dozen calls from the grocery store), he calls me from his cellphone . . . to my landline.
If you’re going to be five minutes late for our ladies’ lunch, I’m OK with that. If you don’t show up at all, then I might get concerned but ultimately I’d just go home. And, don’t even think about bringing your cellphone out during our lunch! I do not need to Instagram or Facebook you a selfie of me in the washroom at the mall, or send me your latest wordle score. And, I’d prefer you did me the same courtesy. My life and my activities are just not that urgent or that interesting. I simply do not get today’s absolute necessity to be in constant contact. It’s exhausting.
My iPad already eats up too much of my time following emails and Facebook. I also read library books on my iPad which has saved me a ton of money. Ever since Instagram somehow found out about my crush on Gerard Butler, I receive regular pictures and updates about his activities, which keeps me busy.
I will admit I am closely monitoring the experiences of friends who have cut their cable and satellite television services in favour of online streaming to see how it’s going. So far I’m not convinced that cutting the umbilical cord would make my life easier. It would be cheaper but at what cost.
Furthermore, because I have hearing aids (another old lady affliction) I find it very difficult to hear callers on a cellphone. I can never get that little transmitter thingie squarely centred over my ear and I’m always asking people to repeat themselves because cellphone transmission is more difficult with hearing aids and not as sharp as my beloved landline.
Ever since I retired and lost the backup support of a big corporate IT department, life has been technologically challenging, especially since my husband is even less adept at these things than I am. I am our IT department and that is stressful for both of us. Using technology properly requires a certain kind of brain and I do not possess the correct configuration. Mine is happier doing simpler, more creative things, like writing this blog.
Therefore, in the time it took for me to write this blog, I could probably have learned how to text. But, obviously, I’m really not motivated. So, I’ll busy myself with those lovely pictures of Gerard Butler on IG and snooping through my friends’ Facebook pages to see where they had lunch.
According to a recent article by Hilary Reid in The New York Times, copper-wired landline phones are becoming a collector’s item, just like those old wall-mounted crank phones from early in the last century. The NYT article also referenced Matt Jennings’s Old Phone Works in Kingston, Ontario. According to Jennings, “in the past two years, customers’ demand for candy-coloured rotary phones from the 1950s and 1960s has skyrocketed. . . it absolutely exploded.” My kind of people.
That news alone will enhance the value of my estate when I die and my heirs will thank me someday. Reid also reported that there are people who are actually going back to old wired phones as a way of disconnecting from the whirl of social media and bringing a level of peace and sanity into their busy lives. I totally get that.
I may go down in history as the last person on the planet with a working landline. Bell Canada will be forced to keep that department open and operational because I will never let go. After I die, then they can disband. Hopefully, I will be able to get WiFi in the afterlife to download my library books. Until then, I’m holding tight to the wire, literally. If you want to chat, feel free to call me on my landline. My cell’s never turned on and I’m doing just fine without it. Hello? Can you hear me?