Someone has stolen my cell phone. And the odd thing is, the little black device the size of a perfect skipping rock is sitting next to me.
My cell phone constantly rings, converted into a de facto dumping ground for robot dialing, trespassing telemarketers. I’m not sure how this happened. I did not invite them into my private space and I wish they would go away.
My cell phone is a private space. From the home screen with a photo taken while my wife and I stood along the Pacific Ocean one chilly February afternoon to the Kenny Chesney music stored away for when I need a cool breeze of relief from the 40-grit sandpaper day. My cell phone is also home to strings of group text messages from my son, daughter, and wife – each dripping with the loving sarcasm only a family can deliver.
My cellphone is my personal and deeply intimate world. And I want my privacy back.
When I was a kid, a beige telephone hung from the wall in the kitchen. With a pigtail cord, you could walk clear over to the stove but not much further. And when the muffled but ear-piercing bells rang, you would run from wherever in the house you might be. After all, it might be long-distance.
But as much as we respected our telephone, we also viewed it as something akin to a public utility – much like the electricity running through the walls or the water dripping from the faucet over the kitchen sink.
I remember when telemarketers would interrupt our family dinnertime, and the caller would be lucky enough to get my dad on the line. He’d listen for a few moments like a cat waiting calmly for a few moments for its prey to drop down its defenses. And then my dad would spring in for the kill.
“Is this one of those damn recordings?”
On the other side of the call you could hear the pitch jaggedly interrupted, a bit of hemming and hawing, and then, sensing his moment, my dad would throw down his theatrically delivered closing line.
“Sorry, I don’t buy from people I don’t know and call me on the phone.”
And without another word, he would calmly replace the handset – many times with the voice on the other end trying to restart their pitch – as if nothing ever happened.
Today my cell phone lights up all day with the names of cities I’ve never visited and area codes I don’t recognize.
There was a time I loved my cell phone. To me, it represented the ultimate in privacy and convenience. I could drop off the face of the world and be back in a moment if need be.
But today my cell phone is the bane of my existence – now the 40-grit sandpaper of my life. Robot-calling thieves have stolen a private and valuable space. And with each passing day, this little device looks more and more like a perfect skipping rock.