But I don't own a cell phone

I finally met my long-time internet friend Val in person last summer.  She described me in one of her blogs as "Alex in real life is pretty much exactly the same as Alex on the internet, but with gadgets.  Lots of gadgets."

At any given time, including when I met Val, I usually have a digital camera, the Alphasmart, and a GPSr.  The last device happened to be of considerable assistance when Val and I and the rest of us met up since we were in a relatively new town at the time.  If I leave the house without any of these three things, I usually end up regretting not having the missing one(s).  I also have a remote on my keychain for the automated lights around my house.  For Xmas this year, possibly my favorite present was a watch Dani bought me (and probably paid too much for; she won't say) that has an electronic compass, barometer, altimeter, etc.  It's solar powered too.

Just to give you an idea how many gadgets I travel with, this is an actual list I keep to remind myself what all I need to bring with my on a trip to visit my parents:

my camera
Dani's camera
tripods (big and little)
memory card reader
extra camera memory card
batteries
battery charger
Dani's camera battery charger
external hard drive (with recent back-up)
Dani's cell phone
gps
gps car adapter and ac adapters
mp3 player (load books!)
mp3 player charger
alphasmart
usb cable
razor
razor charger/plug
hair clippers
toothbrush
floss
glasses
contacts
spare contacts
contact case
contact solution
If I leave the house without a camera, GPS, and/or the Alphasmart, I invariably regret it.  Odds are that our routine trip will end up with us looking for something we hadn't planned to check out or we'll pass by a house on fire or something else worth photographing (I'm not making this up; it's happened twice in almost as many days as of this writing), and I simply cannot be away from the Alphasmart when there are so many thiings worth writing about.

What I don't have is a cell phone, and I'm not entirely sure why.  Maybe to encourage people to email me?  Maybe because I love hearing primarily from people with social deficiencies that prevent them from using a phone?  I don't know.  I'd probably talk your ear off if you got me on the phone, so maybe it's a coping strategy that I even avoid using my land line most days.

To me, cell phones are even more annoying with all their whining to "Charge me, please!" all the damned time.  They are a symbol of yet another responsibility I'm not prepared to shuffle my life around to accommodate.  Cell phones are the Tamagotchi for grown-ups.  Maybe some of you are the right age to remember these?:

They were those little electronic "pets" that were sort of like a home economics project.  They had a built-in timer and would make demands on you to "feed" them (i.e., press the food button) among other things.  If you didn't address their "needs" within a reasonable window, they would "die."  Hopefully these served as a proactive form of birth control, but to me that sounds like the training bra equivalent of cell phones.

Dani bought me my first cell phone for xmas (i.e., 14 months ago), and the contract finally ran out on it last month.  Biggest fucking waste of money ever.  I kept it charged only long enough to answer calls from people trying to reach whomever had that number last.  I never gave out that number to anyone because they would never reach me on it since I rarely carried it with me and almost never charged it after the first couple months.  After that, I finally gave up and just started letting the battery run out all the time.

Presently it is sitting by the front door so I'll remember to drop it off for a charity that makes them available to a battered women's shelter.  I'm waiting out the requisite 30-days notice for cancellation of service (something I should have done 30 days ago when the contract was already ripe to expire), and then I'll have an empty nest.





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