Opinion

COLUMN: Modern communication breakdown

I don’t text. I don’t want to be pestered by people texting me expecting an immediate response to everything that pops into their minds.
OK, maybe that wouldn’t happen. It’s not like I’m so popular people are calling me on the phone all the time. It just seems that’s how it works with texting.
I turn off online chat apps on my computer too. That “beetle-bump” noise of people wanting to chat about nothing while I browsed for deals on E-Bay drove me up the wall.
My stepson and I were talking in the living room the other night when the phone rang. My wife is popular. People call her all the time.
“I feel really sorry for your generation,” Jackson said. “You spend so much time talking on the phone.”
Just then his cellphone buzzed with one of his buddies’ insistent and incessant texts. Both thumbs immediately swung into action pressing out a reply on the tiny keyboard.
“You know, you don’t have to respond to that,” I said.
He was too absorbed in his task to hear me, so I turned my attention to the TV. My wife ended her conversation and the phone rang again.
We have three phones around the house, but we only use the cordless one because nobody wants to be tethered to a line. That means when they ring, we scramble around for the cordless phone before the answering machine kicks in on the fourth ring.
It resets itself automatically if you pick up after it starts taking a message, but for some reason the feature works fine for everybody except my wife.
We keep the regular phones because they work even when the hydro goes out, but the only times they get used then is when everybody calls each other to see who’s got power.
I just want to know if the power’s on in Ladysmith. If its dark I step out the back door and if I see a glow in the sky coming from the town’s lights it means I can drive in and buy dinner.
My daughter got her first cellphone for her birthday last year.
I don’t know how my generation got through our childhood and teen years without cellphones and computers. If we got in trouble, we either figured out how to get out of it or how to get into more.
Now we buy our kids cellphones in case they need to call us in an emergency. Kids play that excuse up big and the guilt – and persistent whining – parents are subjected to is more unbearable than shovelling out the cash for a phone we know damn well won’t survive till the end of its contract.
My daughter lost hers in the snow a couple months back. She was devastated. It took me the better part of an hour and a lot of profanity in the backyard to find it.
I don’t think I’ve ever heard her talk on it. Sometimes she and her friends sit in the same room and spend hours texting each other.
There are times when the clicking of the little keys and the buzzing drives my wife nuts.
My daughter went to Moscow, Idaho, on a school band trip last week. We thought, “Great. We can stay in touch on her cellphone – the first practical use for the thing.”
For some reason our phone company wouldn’t connect to her phone in Idaho. Anyone who has ever lived in Idaho probably wouldn’t be too surprised at this. She forgot the thing’s charger too.
photos@nanaimobulletin.com

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