Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Time passes on, but is it really for the better? Or, I wanna make a phone call!

The Illinois General Assembly is considering a change in law that I’m sure some people are going to think is long overdue – the “phone company,” so to speak, wouldn’t have to give you the option of a real-live telephone in your home.
This 'phone' would definitely freak out the kiddies

As in the landline, the one that’s actually hooked up to cables and theoretically provides your phone calls with a sense of security that our cellphones don’t.

SERIOUSLY, THE LEGISLATURE is considering a request that the laws obligating AT&T to make landline phone service available to everybody in Illinois should be abolished.

The entity we used to jokingly refer to as “Ma Bell” (a reference that may, in and of itself, age me) says so many people now rely on cellphones exclusively for their phone service that the old requirement is a financial burden because it requires them to maintain an infrastructure of cables that is no longer necessary for people to speak to each other via the “telephone.”

Now before I proceed, I probably should point out that I gave up a landline about one year ago. I rely exclusively on the “smart phone” (which often makes me feel dumb) for the ability to make calls, and also keep up with the work-related e-mails I get from people who think the best way to get my attention is to tap out a few characters of the English alphabet, then hit the “send” key.

Yes, I get those e-mails, but I often am astounded at how atrocious their spelling and grammar is. I also have to admit that many of the e-mails I get wind up being deleted unread – particularly the ones that are blatant appeals for me to donate money to yet another political gasbag of a candidate.
Confounding telecommunications?!?

BUT I HAVE to admit that even though I gave up a landline (I found that the people who were calling me were overwhelmingly using my cellphone number), I miss it. Particularly when I see other people who use the “freedom” of not having a phone cord to deal with to become so meandering and thoughtless that they lose track of what is going on around them.

Besides, I also wonder what it is with our contemporary society that they don’t fully appreciate how much of their privacy they give up when they do away with a cord. Because the reality is that there is no assurance that people aren’t listening in on all our cellphone calls, or reading every single e-mail sent to us through that “phone.”

Doing away with landline requirements might be accepting a certain reality, but it also means our reality is getting a little less logical.
Just trying paying a phone bill in this box!

Then again, I’m becoming an old man, and I know watching younger people, particularly my teenage niece Meira. I could go on and on about all the stupid, trivial things she looks at (mostly video snippets of people doing pointless things) when using her phone.

BUT THE CONCEPT that most catches my attention is that she seems to resent it whenever anyone actually “calls” her and expects to have a traditional phone conversation.

She and her friends don’t even bother to pick up on those calls, and ignore the messages that get left. Although they don’t seem to mind having conversations where they can look into their “phones” and see each other – usually in such close-up that their facial features become freakish and unrecognizable.

The “phone” truly has become a toy, one used for video games and watching video snippets and, occasionally, to talk to each other. I’m sure the loss of the cables that maintain “real” phone service won’t be missed.

Except by those cranks such as myself – the kind of people who looked at the Tuesday morning news reports in absolute astonishment that the Chicago White Sox signed their shortstop, Tim Anderson, to a contract providing $25 million during the next six seasons.

The high price of competence
I’M OLD ENOUGH to remember when a salary in the millions was considered unthinkable, then something reserved only for the elite of professional baseball. Not for the journeyman who barely meets the league average!

Although I suppose there are those people who will say I ought to take my out-of-date complaints and make them to someone with a landline phone so we can rant and rage about how the world has gone amok.


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