We have a lot of potential justifications for having a cell phone but we don't have one.
We homeschool, and once a week all winter long I drive treacherous rural mountain roads 90 minutes one-way to get my kids to their music lessons and other activities. When I say rural, I mean rural. There's one 40 minute stretch with only one residence along it ... and they don't have a telephone of any description. Once in a blizzard, with three kids under 5, one just 2 weeks old, I had an accident. We huddled together in the wrecked van under blankets, knowing that eventually someone would drive by. They did.
Our town has nothing but some artisan's shops and convenience store, so when we do our homeschool trip, that's our chance to buy groceries and supplies. If we miss buying something, it's at least a week before we can get it. If we had a cellphone dh could call us while we're shopping if there's something he's discovered we need. Sometimes we have to go a week without tortillas or frozen corn or a shear bolt for the tiller. Nothing dreadful happens.
Dh is on-call 24/7 every other week as the physician for our local ER. It would be handy for him to be able to toodle around without having to phone the ER periodically to say "I'm at Mrs. Takenaka's doing a house call. Call me here if you need me," or "I'm at my MIL's for dinner. You can reach me here until about 9. I'll call when I get home." But he doesn't have a cell phone so a few times a week he uses a land line to make a call like that. No problem.
I've got four kids, three of whom are involved heavily in sports and arts activities. When they're all in different places, I can't necessarily be reached. If one of them broke an arm or something, the coach or teacher would send someone to get me, or would be able to phone someone who would be able to come and get me. My kids always know where I am. People pull together and find solutions if there's an emergency.
Why don't we have a cellphone? Well, chiefly because we live somewhere without cell phone service. But I like it this way. I notice huge differences between the pace of life where we live and the pace in towns which do have cell service. Cell phones seem to up the ante on the pace of life and the expectation of immediate availability and immediate gratification. People multi-task more. Patience, the willingness to manage without or to defer gratification are in shorter supply where cellphones are available. They change our expectations.
Three quotes on the topic of cell phone service from visitors to our area, copied from our community's message board:
|just to add my two bits worth as an outsider and regular vacationer in the new denver area; i like the fact that there is no cell phone access. i come there to get away from all the buzz of city life, and i do enjoy not hearing cell phone rings, one sided conversations, and not having to look out for inattentive drivers with phones pasted to their ears. i think that being a cell phone free area is an assett, and that tourists looking for a true valley experience would appreciate knowing what you don't have to offer. we all got along just fine without these gadgets before. just because we have the technology, doesn't mean we have to use it.
|I am deliriously happy to be back in the land of the sane: I don't need to overhear people's inane telephone conversations while they are walking down the street; I don't need to have my face-to-face conversations constantly interrupted by invasive ringtones; I am GLAD you don't have a cell here – the small sacrifice of not being available 24/7 no matter where you are is more than compensated by the relative sanity of life here, the beauty and peace of the surroundings, and the opportunity to take a one-hour stroll down Main Street, chatting with folks free from the cell phone invasion. Besides which, I LOVE the look on other tourists' faces when they discover – gasp – that they can't phone the office from the middle of the lake (or the middle of the restaurant).
|I understand from experienced accommodators of corporate retreats that there are many benefits to a lack of cell phone service, and that it is a real selling point. Attendees are not interrupted in their deliberations and so the corporation gets their undivided attention. Partners of attendees also benefit from the quiet and the slower pace of life that accompanies a more planned approach to communication outside the valley.