On mobile phones

Lance Mannion is one of the many strangers whose blog I read. There’s a connection, sort of — he used to live in the city where I live now — but it’s pretty slight. Mostly I read because he writes well. And today he’s writing about his new cellphone.

Here’s what I’m getting at.

What do families of four and five and more pay for cell phone service every month? What do college students pay for their cell service every month and why do their parents put up with it?

And how come we don’t find this ridiculous?

And so, a momentary reassessment: why do I have a cell phone?

Originally, I got a mobile phone because of my car. My first car was not, shall we say, very good. And after spending a night stranded by the side of the interstate ten miles outside of the Atlanta Bypass, courtesy of a failed alternator, having a mobile phone seemed like a fine precaution to take. And once I got it, there wasn’t any particular need for me to have a land-line; when I moved to a new place a couple of months later, my old phone number didn’t go with me.

But then I moved to the Midwest, and went back to a two-phone solution. At that point, the rationale was that I travel around enough to make a cellphone practical, but I’d conceived by then a certain dislike of the sound quality on most if not all such phones. (It’s better now, but even now there are some people whose voices I just can’t make out on my mobile; it’s worse if they’re on their cellphone at the time.) So I had a land-line for the purposes of having actual conversations, and a mobile for making plans on the fly.

My original Midwestern cellphone fell apart (pretty much literally) after a year of owning it… or more than a year, since it was out of warranty, but less than two because I didn’t qualify for a free upgrade. Which brings me to my current arrangement: landline plus Canadian cellphone. Useful in that people in both Canada and the States can call me domestically (less useful for my peeps in Germany, Ghana, etc. but one can’t have everything); I’ve considered giving up the home phone but between internet service and the necessity of a local number of give local businesses it just doesn’t seem worth it.

So yes, I’m paying a fair amount for my phone services. I can afford it at the moment, and I enjoy the convenience.

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