Many years ago, after being woken from a blessed sleep by a wrong number, I took to unjacking my home phone as my final bedtime ritual.
In the morning I would rejack it, and then, just before I left for work, unjack it, so that I exercised dominion over my contactability.
As I am the last to know anyway, adding a few more hours wouldn’t much matter.
Further, my voice mail either consists of clicks, meaning the caller hung up before leaving a message, or incoherence from a voice I don’t recognise.
Keeping with my position of caboose on the train, I made sure everyone got a cell phone before I did.The model I finally selected had a clever little feature which I could set to have the cell phone turn itself off at midnight and back on at nine in the morning.
My voice messages were the same kind of clicks and mumbles from strangers, meaning, I didn’t miss anything.
Everyone else seemed to cling to their cell as a mix of magic amulet and proof of citizenship in the global village. Apparently, the only time their cell phone is off is when the battery runs down and they suffer the isolation of disconnection and might have to actually notice the people they are surrounded by.
I always felt the good thing about a cell is that you could chose whether or not you wished to be contactable. I didn’t realise shutting off a cell phone was the height of sociopathic behaviour, and might be grounds for commitment to a mental institution.
I suppose if I was important and had to be on call every minute of every day I would be denied the freedom of incommunicado. Luckily, I’m no one.
Sure people mention they heard my ‘voice mail’, and I lie complaining about my provider or that I had misplaced my phone, so that no one knows I actually shut it off.
I once erred and admitted that the reason I didn’t answer the phone at six a.m. is that I had shut it off.
“You shut off your cell phone!” she shrieked, gaining a crowd which needed to see the deviant, “What if someone wanted to call you!”
With John Q. Public watching and listening, I certainly wasn’t going to reveal my true sentiments, so nodded sagely as if I never considered the rights of other people to call me whenever they pleased, and my duty to answer that phone no matter where I was or what I was doing.
I know most of you are reading this in horror, unable to conceive of a person who actually shuts off their cell phone deliberately, not because they are forced to by the grieving family at a funeral or the judge in the court room.
Yet, I remain unrepentant. My phone is my way to contact the world, not the other way around.