Every month when we get our phone bill we would cringe at the cost of the two features Call Waiting and Caller ID. Even though we hated forking out that much cash for telephone features I was certain we could never live without them. So I refused to give them up.
I finally made the decision to turn them both off. I can’t tell you how sad it made me to pick up the phone for the first time and just see “Ringing” in the Caller ID window. How will I know who’s calling before I answer?
And why did I care so much?
When I resumed what I like to call “Coffee Talk” with my girlfriends, I was suddenly conscientious of how long we spent talking in the mornings. Before the loss of Call Waiting, I never cared how long our conversations lasted. They could go on for hours, and sometimes did. This was the second change in my behavior I noticed. I started watching the clock and ending my conversations earlier than I normally would. I was afraid I’d miss a call.
I had to make some mental adjustments.
One morning as I listened to the phone ring and was wondering if it was someone I actually wanted to talk to, or not, I asked myself, “What was life like before Caller ID?”
Then I remembered! Aha! I can use the answering machine to screen my calls! That’s what I used to do. So I started letting the answering machine to do it’s job. There was just one problem with that. Most of my friends thought I still had Caller ID, so they hung up on the machine thinking I’d see that they called and call them back.
So I got a lot of hang ups on my answering machine.
The answering machine was another drawback. It seems no one really uses them anymore either. My friends were asking me “Why don’t you have voicemail anymore? What’s with the machine?” We used to have voicemail that I could check from anywhere in the US. With the answering machine, I had to wait until I was home to push Play.
I was starting to feel like That 70’s Show.
The good news is our phone bill used to be $55 a month and that was just your basic phone service with the 2 features. Now it’s only $12.
Dumbing down has taken some of the technocrap out of our daily lives. When we moved we promised each other we would strive to eliminate some of the techno and communication necessities we seemed to not be able to live without. Obviously we could live without that stuff. We did it before we got so hip with the electronic hardware. We were overloaded with phone lines, fax machines, high speed Internet, wireless gadgets, cell phones, cable television and lollydodads.
Cutting off two telephone features we really didn’t need was a way of getting back to basics. It was a huge step to take. Huge! The sacrifice has been felt. Okay, so we still have the high speed Internet, wireless gadgets, cell phones, full blown cable television package and all the other lollydodads that go along with that stuff. But at least we’re making the effort…
But do I miss the Caller ID and the Call Waiting?
Yeah, I do, dammit.
Baby steps, baby steps, baby steps.
So now we’re talking about just getting rid of the landline altogether. I might need counseling after that.