Cell Phones, Technology & the Good Ol’ Days


In this world of technology today, it seems that everyone has some sort of cell phone. In fact, most of them are just handheld mini-computers. We check email, search the Internet, send text messages, call people, and so much more, using these devices.

Some people argue the point that they are “much more communicative (they) are in today’s world because of the cell phone.” I counter with the argument that these devices make us lazier and less communicative, because we are on information overload.

I like to think that I am reasonably current with using technology.

I know how to turn it on, do what I need to do, and figure out the solution, if I get stumped. If I cannot find the answer, I usually know who I can talk to to get more information.

To think that I grew up with an old, heavy rotary phone, I feel pretty darned smart with all this fancy-schmancy technology! I still remember my first phone number that I memorized at the age of five: EMpire 34076. I know there are some of you who will know EXACTLY what that means!

We didn’t have voice messaging back in those days. As children, in order to be allowed to answer the phone, we learned phone manners, how to speak clearly, and we were taught how to take complete and proper messages. When phone messaging systems came on the scene, we learned to check them, and transcribe them onto a pad and make sure that the intended received them in a timely fashion.

Nowadays, most do not have (what we used to call) a landline. If we do have a “home phone” it is through the magic of technology and attached somehow to our Internet or cable television service. If we have one of our older phones with the messaging feature, it sits quietly, as the feature is turned-off. Voice messaging through our provider fits that bill.

In today’s world, home phones are becoming more and more extinct by the day. All seem to opt for individual phone lines per person in the house. Instead of one family number ringing to the house, there are six cell numbers for Mom, Dad, and each of four children.

What I have noticed

What I have noticed recently among many of my younger friends and family, ages 35 and under. It is also true among the older ones, far too often for my tastes.

They do not:

  1. Answer their phones
  2. Listen to voice messages
  3. Return a phone call.

Instead, they:

  1. Screen the calls
  2. Tell you they did not get a call
  3. Text you to find out why you called

 I sound like an old person.  I guess now I am.

If I can change my old ways to accommodate some of the new ways that people are communicating in today’s world, why is it that others will not meet in the middle?

If younger people are going to brag about how much more savvy they are and are better communicators that the elder crowd, would it not make sense to use the devices for how they are intended? With a bit of patience, could there not be an opportunity for the youth to teach or help the elders with these newest gadgets?

If you want to mitigate communication with this particular old person

  1. If you are screening calls and don’t recognize my number or blocked call, then make sure you have your voice mail set up so I can leave a message.
  2. If you have voice mail set up, listen to your messages, and delete them after doing so. I cannot leave a message if your “mailbox is full.”
  3. Just answer the phone. I promise I can keep the conversation to a few minutes. I know you have things to do.

What I will try to do

I will do my best to remember to keep my cell phone plugged in and on my person at all times. I certainly don’t want to miss your text messages because I have no charge.

I just might, however, answer my phone that is provided through my cable company…that is, unless, the power goes out.

And, if that’s the case, please leave a voice message. I promise that I know how to retrieve them and will return your call.



Photo credits:  Pixabay, public domain.

14 thoughts on “Cell Phones, Technology & the Good Ol’ Days

  1. Wendy

    Word! I wish we could turn back time because I’m certain we are at the point of no return. My daughter (22) won’t even answer when I call. She texts “What do you need?” while I’m in the midst of leaving a message. 😩

    1. My granddaughter just turned 21. Even younger children know more about technology than I do. I need to get someone else’s 4-year-old (I guess) to help set up new computers/phones!

  2. Birgit

    I don’t know of I want to 😂 or 😭.
    At times I thing it was so mach easier back then, not reset on your phone and losing all your info. But time “runs”. Life is crazy.

    1. I think that an answer to the “problems” we have is to not be so reliant or addicted to the technology that is. All of my important phone numbers, I have in my brain, but have them backed up in an “old school” telephone book, too. We don’t have to lost it all. Yes, life IS crazy.

  3. Really enjoyed this Coral, technology has done so much for us but it also has its dark side too. It can do an excellent job of isolating people, it has changed things far too quickly, and at work I always thought it created work rather than reduced it. Why so many emails, bring back the memo. Don’t get me wrong I love my tech, but it doesn’t send me into a blind panic if I don’t have it with me.

  4. Dina

    I am guilty of screening my calls, but it’s mainly because I receive a ridiculous number of scam calls. I do check my voicemail and I am diligent about adding people to my contact list once I’ve determined that they’re not malicious.

  5. priscillaking

    I feel the pain 😉 I’m not sure how relevant this thought may be to you or your intended audience, but here’s my cell phone etiquette thought:

    The cheapest cell phone “plan” is what the industry calls “prepaid minutes.” That means you’re billed for each minute or part of a minute while talking, part of a minute per text message, extra minutes for Internet connection.

    When talking to people who use “prepaid minutes” plan, the key rule of etiquette is NEVER WASTE PHONE TIME. Use phones to schedule live conversations, not to carry on conversations. Never send two messages if one would do. Be very careful about the sort of verbal padding we use to communicate politeness in live conversations–if it makes an extra text-message unit, the “How are you?” and “I look forward to hearing from you” sort of “courtesy” becomes rude!

    Sometimes letting the phone ring twice, and hanging up, is a way to send a free message like “I’m waiting outside now” or “Call me back if you’re near a land phone so at least the call won’t cost *you* money.” However, between users of “prepaid minutes,” if the phone rings three times, letting it continue ringing and go into voice mail is rude, and most of the time leaving a voice message is also rude–the phone display tells the callee who called without using up the callee’s phone minutes.

    Or, if we let the phone ring three times, that means “Pick up and talk to me now–this is extremely urgent.” Either abusing the right to communicate that meta-message, or consciously ignoring it, is rude.

    People who have either land phones or “monthly service” cell phone plans are incredibly clueless about these things…

    1. I can appreciate what you are saying about the prepaid plans, but I’m not sure that I would call the other party rude, when it comes to leaving a message or things of that nature. It is the person’s choice to go with one of those phones, with a limited number of minutes. Never have I called anyone and had them give me a list of these rules, and if that’s the first thing that someone shared with me after receiving their phone and giving me their phone number… I would consider that a bit rude.

      If I had one of those phones, although I would certainly be conscious of the time and cost, I don’t know that I would come up with one of those elaborate two or three rings for code. There’s no standard there that means the same for everyone. Life is complicated enough without having to remember who’s who and what’s what. But I do see some Merit to the strategy. We all have to figure something out that works best for us!

  6. susanehowe

    My number was NOrmandy 11048 !!! I agree with you. I call my children, then when they don’t answer I leave them a short message. Eventually they call me back asking what I wanted, without even bothering to listen to their voice mail. Very frustrating.

  7. Sonja

    While I appreciate technology and the obvious benefits, it saddens me because we have regressed as humans, to soar as robots. Double edged sword!

    1. However, the fact is that we can step back and go unplugged. Unfortunately, many people will lament the same thing and then refuse to shut it off and do it differently.

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