Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

I cave in to technology November 17, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 10:41 AM
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I GOT A NEW CELL PHONE 2 ½ weeks ago. Big deal, you say.

Well, if you’re me, this is a big deal. You see, up until Halloween, I did not own a cell phone.

I know, I know, that is difficult to believe. But I have, for years, resisted getting a cell phone. I told myself I really didn’t need one and couldn’t justify the added monthly expense.

Then my second-born handed over her cell phone before leaving for a six-month stay in Argentina. I got used to having the darned thing. When she returned to the United States and I had to give her phone back, I kind of missed it. Yet, I didn’t cave in and get my own phone.

But then she went to Argentina again and, before leaving, handed over her cell phone for the second time. That did it. Upon her return in October, I got a cell phone and so did my husband and our 16-year-old son. Our two daughters upgraded.

I still cannot believe that we (I) did this. Me, the last hold-out in modern civilization now owns a cell phone with a slide-out keyboard. And I am texting, yes, texting.



My new, very own, fancy schmancy cell phone with slide-out keyboard.


Initially I balked at the very idea of texting. Why would I want to text? How could I possibly tap out a message with my thumbs on such a small keyboard? I am. (It doesn’t work to use your index finger; I tried that.)

I won’t win any texting contests. I’m slow. And the writer in me struggles with the language of texting—the abbreviations, lack of proper punctuation and capitalization.

But…I’m adapting. I type “u” for “you.” I punch “r” for “are.” It is sad and pathetic and I feel almost like a traitor to the English language. I wonder if someday while writing a story, I’ll write like I’m texting.

That brings up an interesting point. How will this style of communication affect today’s younger generation? Will they know how to spell? Will they be able to write complete and properly punctuated sentences?

Will they know how to communicate face-to-face?

I am sounding like an old-timer here. I realize that. But when I consider advances in my lifetime, technology marks the biggest change. I grew up in a house that, for the longest time, did not have a telephone. When my parents finally got one, we were on a party line and answered our number—2074—to two long rings.

During my freshman and sophomore years of college, the one phone in my dorm was four floors down and shared by everyone.

I remember when I thought getting a cordless phone was a big deal. I still have that free-range phone and my corded landline.

How many phones does one woman need? Do I really, truly, need a cell phone? I still struggle with justifying the expense.

That is me, though. I’ve always been frugal and slow to embrace technology and change. I wasn’t the first in line to buy a microwave, a computer, a VCR or…fill in the blank. My television is a freebie garage sale 1990s vintage set. It works just fine, thank you, unless the weather is humid or windy. (Yes, I rely on an antenna for reception.)

Now I have this cell phone. I suppose eventually I will want to upgrade to internet capabilities. But first I need to learn how to check my voicemail, take photos…

WHAT’S YOUR TAKE on cell phones and how they impact our lives? What are positives and negatives? Share your thoughts in a comment to Minnesota Prairie Roots. I’d like to hear.

If you wish to congratulate me on my cell phone acquisition, feel free to do so. You won’t be the first, though, to do so.

© Copyright 2010 Audrey Kletscher Helbling