They’ve been debating making the switch, and this week they tried it out. My parents are thinking of giving up their landline and getting a cellphone.
It’s a dramatic move for them, and they aren’t making the decision hastily. My father first sent an email out to the extended family, asking for everyone’s advice. A flurry of emails explored their options thoroughly. My father was born in 1931 so he’s got a learning curve with new technology.
Then I suggested that they take my cell phone for a week to try it out. “Do you have the manual?” my father asked.
By the next night, he had called every family member on my contact list. I think he was taking notes as he did so. “Are you inside your house? I’m going to try speaker phone. Do I sound any different? I talked to Red-haired Daughter last night, cell-to-cell at 7:34 pm and got very clear reception.”
My father has some problems with his hearing — some say it’s from years of playing as a musician, but I think the job he had setting up pins in a bowling alley when he was teenager may have done some damage as well. So he likes the speaker phone button, which he can use to make our voices louder.
My mother adapts to new technology easily, so she didn’t feel the need to call around the country, but my father needed empirical evidence. He waited until my daughter arrived on the west coast this week (she’s at a musical festival called Coachella) so that he could try calling someone that far away.
What’s funny is that my father rarely makes a phone call. I’ve talked to him more this week on the phone than I have in my whole life. I could tell when he’d get to a new section of the manual because he’d call and tell me about some feature of the phone. (“Did you know it’s like an answering machine too? It can record messages!”)
My parents won’t have trouble sharing a phone because I predict they will use it much like a landline. It’ll stay on the desk until it rings. They are surprisingly pleased with the obnoxious ring on my phone (it’s a recording of Shaggy Hair Boy that sounds something like a smoke alarm going off) because it’s a noise that can be heard throughout the house. I don’t foresee my mother calling me from the grocery store any time soon. But my parents do spend a lot of time at their camp in the summer, and it’ll be nice to know they can contact family members in the case of an emergency. And now, if I need to know how to use any feature on my phone, I can just call my Dad. Because he’s read the manual.
Feel free to chime in if you have any thoughts/experiences with giving up a landline and going to a cell phone ....