Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Can you hear me now?

Cell Phones.

Everyone except my parents has one it seems. Only a decade ago, hardly anyone had a cell. Pagers were the cool status symbol back in the 1990's. A pager meant you were important and needed. People wanted YOU to call THEM. Anyone with a pager was pret-ty hot stuff.

Next came the car phone. This brick sized attachment literally was built or lugged into the car. I wasn't as impressed by the car phone. To me, the person didn't know how to relax and took work with them wherever they went. I never wanted a car phone.

About this time, TheDeanInc got a job as a cell phone sales rep. He purchased a plan for himself but when he left a few months later for a two year mission to the Philippines, he needed someone to take over his contract. That lucky person was me. My first cell phone plan was $32 a month. I had 75 weekday minutes, 500 weekend minutes, call waiting, caller id, and the capability to store 99 numbers. Texting wasn't developed yet, coverage only existed within the 50 mile radius of the cell phone tower, and the phrase "free nights" only applied to children under 5 staying at rundown motels. The phone also came with 10 different ring tones. No option to download or upgrade. 10 styles.

Today phones are everywhere. A status symbol is no longer really attached to the actual cell phone. Now it's the ring tone. Some are obnoxious and some are quiet. Some are downloaded songs and some are recorded voice clips. Some are actual original rings and others just vibrate. A ring tone says quite a bit about a person.

What is my ring tone? A sound clip from The Nightmare Before Christmas.

I realize it's May but back in December I wanted a holiday ring tone. The only other option that sounded remotely decent was Jingle Bells. I obviously chose otherwise. I spent $3 downloading the ring tone. January came and I didn't feel as though I'd used my new ringer $3 worth so I continued with the song. Now it's mid-May and I'm still using it. Occasionaly my phone will ring while I'm with friends and inevitably someone says, "Isn't that a Christmas song?"

Why yes, yes it is. My cell phone ringer indicates I'm cheap. I would argue but - oh hold on, Jack's ringing.


Thomas said...

I didn't realize that beepers meant status in the early 90s. I thought it meant that you were a drug dealer ;)

I have four different ring-tones on my phone.

For my father - the theme from the Godfather
For everyone else in my family - Sweet Caroline (They sing this song in the middle of the 8th inning at Fenway)
For my friends - It's My Life (You know that with me there has to be a little Bon Jovi)
For everyone else - Just a regular ring.

I heart you Charlotte

Patience said...

My first cell phone I bought the day after I got stranded on the freeway during rush hour when my car died. I had 28 minutes and paid about $25/month. Now I have 8 million minutes, two shared phones, texting, camera, etc., etc. I don't know how much it costs because it's all connected to my home phone, cable tv, bill.

My husband and I call each in W*mart. "Where are you?" "I'm in sporting goods." I call him on the way home from work. "Where are you?" Before cells, when you called someone you always knew where they were! You called them there!! Now, who knows.

I love my cell phone! But I also hate them.

Craig D said...

Back in the 90s, a friend of mine had one of those pagers that he'd hang from his belt. He had to be "on call" for his exciting records management job!

I met him after work one day and we went back to his apartment. He disappeared to the bathroom for a while. Then I heard him cry out in agony, "OH NO!"

Yep, he had dropped his pager into the toilet while he was flushing it...

laura said...

I'm on my fourth cell phone, I believe. Wait...fifth. I had my first one for almost three years. Maybe longer.

I'm a traditionalist when it comes to my phone I suppose. Most of the time I stick to a regular ring tone, because, hey it's a phone, not a radio. And I also have never wanted a camera phone, because, well, it's a phone not a camera. I like my phone to be a phone.

Maybe if I didn't already have a camera I would want a camera phone.

But I love my phone. She's red. I call her ruby. She's my home. There's no place like home...

Em said...

I love the pic of the phone on the dashboard!

My ring tone? The actual little tone that was the default setting when I bought the thing. How's that for boring?!?!

charlottalove said...

Thomas: maybe pagers meant that in Jersey but in Texas, that hunk of plastic was the ultimate in "cool" accessories. In my mind anyway.

Patience: I do hate my phone. I hate it because I can't live without it. Argh.

Craig: lol. That's just funny.

Laura: the name is great. it! Mine doesn't have a name. It's taken me nearly 5 years to name my car. I won't even start thinking about naming my phone. :o)

Em: I liked that picture too. I found a picture of an actual car phone "briefcase" but the other was just too clever. :o)

Kelly said...

I had the Blackeyed Peas song, "My Humps." I changed it after my cell phone went off in church... and I was in the other room. It kept playing over and over and over... Not good.

Burg said...

I had a pager, but I wasn't a drug dealer.. I did, however, sometimes sell pizza at a discount to my friends from the drive-thru window at the restaurant I worked at.. Does that count as rebellion?

Anonymous said...

nearly 20 years ago my family lived in st. louis, down the street from drug dealers. how did we know they were drug dealers? because 17 yr olds didn't have pagers back then unless they were!

for awhile i had motley crue's "dr. feelgood" as my ringtone, and even now that song comes on the radio or my ipod and i instinctively reach for my phone. now my ringtone is the theme from "the office," and it makes people smile when they hear it.

favorite cell phone moment: taking a test in italian, and this rocker dude's cell phone goes off in the middle of the silence with queen's "fat bottomed girls." niiiice.

Dorky Dad said...

I'm pretty cheap, too. I usually just go with the rings the phone came with.

I can't believe it, but we've had cell phones for nearly 10 years now. Dang. I'm old.

Thomas said...

Amanda Mae knows what I am talking about. Maybe in Texas the cool kids were the ones selling the DRUGS!!!

Vivian Love said...

I love this post & the phone picture! Don't you hate when you go to a public meeting & they ask everyone to: please turn off all cell phones & pagers. And without fail, someone's goes off!

My kids have all the "bells & whistles" on their cell phones, cameras, texting, alarm clocks...even a tip calculator! Me, I have the basic. My kids say I'm old fashioned.

And boy, they love to text message! They do it at lightening speed! What happened to the days when you just picked up the house phone and talked? The last time my son was talking on the house phone, I saw him IM'ing his friends on the computer, while texting others on his cell AND watching Family Guy! Multi-tasking for sure!