Cell phones. They are a fairly new technology, right? Well, that happens to be the case with my pap, as he is part of the "older" crowd of people shifting gears and making the cell phone transition.
And when I say older, I'm not automatically placing him in the 59-75 age demographic - even though he is. It is just, from my experience, cell phones seem to scare people in that segment of the population. Heck, they scared me, too ... well, when they first came out, at least.
The cell phone fiasco started with one hard and unpleasant day. Pap was having a rough day. His landline went out in his trailer, so he was unable to make phone calls, receive phone calls - you know, the whole bit. And then, to top it all off, he comes down to the house to let my sister and I know that the brakes on both of his vehicles went out as well. Poor pap.
Pap is a simple man, so he decided to get the brakes on his vehicles fixed first. The landline could hold off - or so he thought. He was unable to make important phone calls, and this was not good. The opportunity arose when a cell phone seemed to be the perfect and most simple solution, and that's what he decided to do.
In my thinking, there are two types of cell phones. First, there is a standard cell phone with a plan -you purchase a contract and phone from the cell phone company and pay a monthly rate. Then, there's the pay-as-you-go cell phone, which is a more affordable form of cell phone service. Cell phones are purchased without a contract and minutes are purchased whenever needed.
My pap opted for Plan B, purchasing 120 minutes of cell phone service. Through one of our many discussions, he basically made it clear that he has had "too much trouble" with cell phone plans in the past, and would just find it more convenient to purchase a pay-as-you-go version. The trouble is, a cell phone is still a cell phone.
Trying to get my pap to understand this new piece of technology was and still is difficult; and he is still learning. I have to laugh - the other day he called me and said "Kelley?" He accidentally thought he dialed my sister's number. I said "No Pap, it's Tara. Wrong number."
What many people don't understand is that many older people are afraid of change and afraid of learning how to use a cell phone. I have to applaud my pap for even attempting to learn to use such an "advanced" piece of equipment.
I remember in high school, none of my friends were lucky enough to have cell phones, except for Kathryn. Some of us did have less flashy pay-as-you-go phones, but Kathryn was the only one that had an actual "cell phone" - complete with plan.
And this phone didn't look anything like the little phones that are on the market today -it even had its own nickname. We called it the "God-Phone," because it was gigantic compared to the phones of today.
So ginormous, in fact, this phone could call the heavens and it must have weighed about five pounds. I don't really know if that was the actual weight, but that's what it seemed like in comparison to the 0.6 ounce cell phones we have now.
Looking back, my friends and I would marvel at this relic. We were amazed at its ability to play a single ringtone, and proudly displayed it like it was $500 - which is probably about what it cost at the time.
Oh, how I miss the "God-Phone," and I'm sure Kathryn does, too.
Sentinel reporter Tara Maguire welcomes parenting advice and stories and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.