Cell phone reception not welcome

The screen flashed with a warning as we waited for the feature presentation: “please turn off your cell phones.”
I giggled, whispered to Jonathan, “Why? It’s not like they’re going to ring.”
But across the aisle, the tell-tale blue of a LED screen cast a glow on the face of its owner who had whipped it out of his pocket intent on fulfilling the order.
Jonathan and I shared one of those conspiratorial glances – feeling quite alone in this technological world.
Don’t get me wrong; we are both Gen X to the core – and with that comes a desire to grab onto new technology and ride it until the next wave comes crashing in.
I remember a college friend downloading Napster onto the computer on my dorm room desk in the early days of file sharing, the thrill as I input the name of any song that popped into my head to be answered by dozens upon dozens of people with the same song bouncing around their brains.
When I finally made the jump to digital photography, it was like stepping through the cupboard into Narnia, with a world of alternate colors and strange new approaches to an everyday science.
But living in western Sullivan County, I’ve been well insulated from the cellular world.
I have one, yes, but it sits in my purse most days.
When I venture out to the eastern side of the county, and find myself needing to check in at the office or update Jonathan on my whereabouts, I turn it on to find a small mailbox blinking in the bottom corner.
“You have… six… new… messages,” the mechanical voice tells me.
Six, huh? Whoops.
Constantly on the computer, I expect my friends to slip me an e-mail when they need to reach me.
It’s up-to-date, it’s technological.
It’s easy, even, and my preferred method for getting real work done without the time wasted on small talk while I’m on a tight newspaper deadline.
But the rest of the world seems to rely on their wireless phones the way I grasp for the bottle of soda in the morning, desperate for caffeine to get me going again.
They can’t live just one day without.
I was shocked at the hundreds of people walking around Sesame Place last summer when we took Jillian on a trip, talking to the air, a small piece of plastic clipped to their ears.
“Hang up!” I wanted to yell. “You’re at a water park… with your kids! Are you really going to seal the big deal on your way down the slip and slide?”
I had to wonder the same thing about the man who’d turned his cell phone on for the ride to the Callicoon Theater.
Was he hoping to get in a last-minute conversation as he made the dip out of the Beechwoods into Hortonville?
I could have had one too – if I’d remembered to turn the darn thing on.

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