I recently saw the latest, greatest cell phone prominently displayed in a retail store. According to the sign, the pocket sized device could meet every technological need. The handheld computer bore little resemblance to the phones of my youth.
I grew up with a single rotary phone that weighed half a ton. Southern Bell leased the 1960s’ tech for a monthly fee. The company offered a variety of colors as long as they were black or beige. The coiled handset cord put the only “mobile” in “mobile phone.” We shared the party line with an anonymous stranger.
During my teens, Mom and Dad upgraded to four princess phones with rotary dials built right into the handsets. Extension cords to the base units granted an amazing 10 foot arc of movement.
In my thirties, we bought our first cordless phones. The base plugged into the wall but the cordless handset provided limited mobility dictated by the radio frequency’s range. Multiple handsets could use the same base.
Then science fiction became science fact with the advent of cellular phones. The congregation I served owned a bag phone the size of a large purse for emergency use on the church vans. In the early 1990s, my wife and I bought our first car phones with a grand total of five minutes of “free” calling time per month.
Technology continued to advance in a geometric progression. Car phones to flip phones to Nokia phones to Razor phones to Blackberry phones to I-phones. My current smart phone keeps me wired 24/7/365. Two screens of apps perform every service conceivable and a few I never imagined needing.
I appreciate modern technology and its conveniences; but some days . . .
I miss the single rotary phone of my childhood.