Domestic Bliss Report

Motherhood is hard work. If we don't stick together, we'll all fall apart.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Maybe I'm Amish somewhere.

I do have German roots, though it's the Scottish and Irish you see.

I'm not always a big advocate of cutting-edge technology. I can cite examples, like we might be the only family I know with no iPods, laptops, or hand-held video game players and our game console is as old as our marriage.
Really. And one of our phones still has a cord to connect it to the receiver. We do have an answering machine, though.

It occurred to me how anachronistic that must be lately when we got a phone call from a former neighbor. Her beau and some friends were going to help us get some concrete poured in the back yard; they were going to put in the forms. I was going to call her back with when a good time would be, so I asked for her number.
"Don't you have caller-ID?"
Yes, we still just hang up on political solicitations, charity tin cups, and credit card service offers. We are on the federal no-call list so we don't get general telemarketers, though we have gotten a home siding company a few times. It's rare enough that I don't think it's the same one.

Back to caller-ID. What did people do before you knew who was calling without picking up? You answered the phone. Or didn't, then checked for a message. Before that, you just missed the call. Shocking, I know, but the world kept turning.
I wonder what people did before Call-Waiting, as well. If there's a ruder invention than that, I've yet to see it. "Yes, I'm having a conversation with you, but if someone else calls, I'm going to take that call and make YOU wait. Or I'll end this call because someone else has interrupted it." So we don't have that feature, either.
Now, a caveat: I understand medical emergencies. Or rescheduling doctor's appointments. Or if you're standing up in a wedding two days hence and the bride calls about arrangements of some kind. Those are probably going to be more important than whatever we're discussing.
But as a general rule, I find it rude. I can only recall one person who makes it a habit not to interrupt his calls when another rings through, and I already had a tremendous amount of respect for my father-in-law.

So I got to thinking on these "life enhancing" phone features. What did people do before Caller-ID and Call-Waiting? They answered the phone, or callers got a busy signal. The world kept turning.
What did people do before telephones? When appointments were made in person or by mail? Sure, it was more difficult and time-consuming, but the world moved more slowly. I don't think that was such a bad thing.

Like I said, maybe there's some Amish in there.

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At 6:05 AM, Blogger HISchild said...


I thought that I was the only one who HATED (yes, HATED) call waiting. It started in college. I would call home to talk with my family and they would put me on HOLD to answer another call.

During the ensuing years, when getting new phone service I would always ask if you could turn that feature off. Most the time I was told "No, it's part of the package."

We currently have Vonage. This is the only service that I have used that allows you to turn off the most annoying phone feature ever invented.

At 7:22 PM, Blogger Barb, sfo said...

I also hate call waiting.
I only use it when I know one of my kids is going to call for Mom's Taxi Service (my mom has an uncanny ability to call 15 minutes before Big Brother's cross-country practice ends...but I let her know that I am expecting a Taxi Service call, so she is not insulted when I take it.)
I have a great-aunt who is the worst slave to call waiting I have ever known. It has made me reluctant to call her, because she will ALWAYS take the call that is coming in.

At 10:37 AM, Anonymous Sarah L. said...

We don't have call waiting or caller ID, either. Nor Ipods. My husband and I each carry a prepaid cell phone for emergencies (the kind the terrorists use) and get the minimum minutes. We do have cable, but it's the "Limited Basic" package that allows us to get reception of the major networks, plus TLC and CSPAN, for $15/month. Every gadget we have (DVD player, camcorder, camera, computer) has been given to us by my father, who must feel sorry for us. No need to feel sorry, Dad; I rather like being a Luddite.

We did spring for high speed Internet access when my husband took an online class that required it- and I'm not giving that up!


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