cell phones: first memory, per favor.

oh my,

day…4?  this thing has taken off like like an ultra-lite lil plane (ever been on one?  me neither but my best friend’s dad used to have one.  i always loved to hear his enthusiasm about fast flight).  this means, it is awesome, a bit unpredictable and oh-so-fun.

THANK YOU to all of you who have written emails, posts, and all of that great stuff.  so much material from old friends and new friends.  GRATEFUL!

so many great posts and i am tired after a late night getting excited over all of this and writing until 2am last night, a long day pretending to work while i worked on the project, meetings with folks who are contributing and drinking a very nice beer at the brew pub after a great performance of the understudy.  and, p.s.  (we will elaborate next post) i am a bit worn-out learning how to manage all of the information i am getting via fb and twitter.  not super savvy with technology (a whiz at word) but also not too embarrassed to say that i am learning.  so, as i sit here and watch the food channel and realize that i have yet eaten a real meal today (although i have had plenty of guacamole), i think that i don’t quite have it in me to write the post that i had envisioned while driving  to the theatre with the fast sun setting in the gold-yellow grain.  (the theatre?  shoot.  wait.  shouldn’t i already be rehearsing?  i have some great choreography in my head for the songs i might choose to represent [thank you!] but soon i need to be detached from this computer long enough to actually start to put [get?] the “show on the road” [thanks, dad for giving me that phrase]).  six weeks seems way too short.

however, before heading to bed i want to write a few quotes regarding cell phones that i’ve received today.  although i was not specifically seeking this input, it’s been overwhelming to hear how much that has impacted us…or how we didn’t have them growing up and that makes us, as ms. jenson says, “the last generation to have an attention span”.

dear nathan said:  as far as cell phones, I didn’t get my first cell phone until I was married in 2003.

WHEN DID YOU GET YOUR FIRST CELL PHONE?  when was the first time you used a cell phone?

personally, i’m full of anecdotes.  will talk about my dad’s “car phone” tomorrow.  oh, and someone was telling me about this motorola thing where you had to go through an operator.  never heard of that before tonight.  anyone?  anyone?

so, let’s talk about that.  and any picture, memory, suggestion for how to approach this topic in the show, would be greatly appreciated!

good night,

alice

back in the day these things had receivers...

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Comments
8 Responses to “cell phones: first memory, per favor.”
  1. k.c says:

    Idk how to approach this through your show.

    My first phone was in late 2000 or early 2001, back when you still had to be super stingy w/minutes. It had a grayish screen, showing only numbers- no photos, like a cheap calculator. It was small for the time, though large compared to now. I actually remember wondering to myself, “what the hell is a ‘txt msg’???”, LOL!! And when someone explained it to me I was like, “typing out words on a phone, one letter at a time??? sounds like a slow, troublesome way to communicate, why would anyone want to do that when they can just call??”, LOL encore!

    What did we ever do to quell boredom & awkward silence in public, pre-cell phone days? Oh yeah, I smoked. 🙂

    I remember when I saw my first “cell phone”, circa 1988. My dad’s friend had a “car phone” and it was a huge Zack Morris model, in a velcro case, with a cord attached to the base (the thing in the case). It was not cordless. I would BEG to be allowed to call my mom so I could talk while we were driving- so fancy!!!

    Reception through a tin can and string was probably better.

  2. Presches Keck says:

    I actually had one our senior year 1997. It was the size of my 2yr olds baby einstein phone. I wasn’t really sure how to use it. My parent bought it for my car since I was always driving to Evansville or where ever. I think I called on it maybe 3 times since it was so expensive to call, that I was scared I would get in trouble for using it other then to call my parents.

  3. Ryan Edel says:

    I got my first cell phone for free from some phone company (Verizon?) in 2000 or so and then sent it back a few weeks later. Then I got one from AT&T – I had that one a little longer, I think, but I don’t remember using it – I just remember that Sprint had terrible service, and that AT&T was better. I discontinued that one when I joined the army in 2002, and then I didn’t get another phone until maybe 2003. That time I went with Cingular and never looked back…until AT&T bought them out…so I’m back with AT&T again. But phones have changed so much, and I just kept using my Cingular phones until they stopped working. I remember that first one in 2002 – it was small like today’s flip phones, but it had a metal case, and that thing was tough. I drowned one while kayaking, and then the second one got stepped on right before I went to Afghanistan, which stunk – I had to buy a new phone after I got back in 2006, and the best they had was a plastic Samsung. Motorola Razors had just come out, and they had so many problems that the tech support guy from Cingular couldn’t recommend that I buy one. “The Samsung phones are reliable phones,” he said, refusing to say which phones weren’t.

    That Samsung lasted long enough for the iPhone 4 to come out. I don’t know how I survived without internet in my pocket, but I did. I can’t imagine what it will be like for some of these kids growing up now, the ones who will never need to use paper maps to find something, the ones who have spent their entire lives being able to look up pretty much anything they needed to know. But then, my parents still don’t have Facebook, so I guess it’s all a matter of perspective. They are pretty much chained to their Garmin, and I feel pretty confident just driving around because I’ll never get lost so long as I can still charge my phone.

    • project1979 says:

      i love the quote about “the ones who will never need to use paper maps to find anything.” interesting food for thought!

  4. Jason says:

    Oh, this is too funny. Just last week while out running errands I stopped at the gas station and had a need to make a phone call. Where I live, there is no service, so I don’t currently have a cell phone for the first time in 10 years. I asked the cashier if there was a pay phone. She said yes, there was one at the end of the parking lot, but she ‘wasn’t sure’ if it was working. When I got all the way over there, what I saw was identical to that photo above! ‘Not working’ indeed LOL!

    I think you’ve hit on a pretty interesting point about us being the last generation to really remember life before cell phones. They were such a status symbol just after graduating I remember. Even in high school, people would crowd around the 2 pay phones at lunch. If you actually had someone to call outside of school, it attracted attention. I even remember someone pretending to make calls just to look cool.

    My parents do text now. Once my mom figured out how easy it was a few years ago, she graduated from ’emergency phone’ to ‘instant communication device no matter where my travels take me.’ This of course led to a LOT of texting, but that was cool, kept her mind at ease. My dad has caught on also, but rarely does so.

    I really liked your question from 9-27 “do you think that not having had a cell phone as a child has allowed you to have a communicative asset to those ten years younger? are our parents at a disadvantage?”

    I’m not sure about that, but I do think we have an advantage over all subsequent generations. Maybe advantage isn’t the right word, just a unique different set of circumstances might be more accurate. The disconnect being caused by all these 24/7 immersive technologies is definitely being documented, but I’d be interested in finding out more regarding the psychological connections. What I’ve read so far hasn’t been too promising really. Imagine 30 years from now a solar flare takes out electricity for a few months. We’ll be the 62 year olds who still know how it was done before…we’d be the only truly ‘functionally skilled’ people around!

    Extreme example, but you got me thinking. 🙂

    On a side note re: all this new technology, I personally started boycotting smartphones about 3 years ago (and I was one of the earliest adopters). The phone I’ve had looks almost identical to yours, but different branding. For me, it was the result of working an online job these past few years, and spending so much time in front of a desktop that I just didn’t want it to follow me around the ‘real world’ when I did choose to leave the house. I’ve never really regretted that, and instead I have a laptop with an optional cell stick in case I REALLY need it for something.

    I met an old friend (born in 78) last year, and we went to a comedy show lasting about 2 hours. She posted to FB while we were in line, and then every single time a comment or like came in, she would pull out the phone during the show. And read the comment, like it, and reply. At least 15-20 times, maybe more. And this is an incredibly sane, down to earth person I highly respect.

    But, that is when I began to realize just how big this ‘disconnect’ is getting to be, and how as the technological takeover continues, the barriers of age itself (and all it has ever meant to us) begin to deconstruct and change form faster than ever. Meaning that young or old, many of the effects are the same – though we still all have our individual perspective on what it means for us, and that’s why I think this project sounds pretty groovy!

    Way to represent, Alice. 😀

    • project1979 says:

      j-
      i guess there is a movement across the nation to dismantle pay phones. that makes me sad and i don’t know why. i guess i’m still holding on to a past that is no longer there. however, i love your positive take to out use of technology. the fact that we will and do (for the most part) have communication skills which are aided by technology but not dependent on them.
      here’s to the adventure of navigating how we can be better, more mindful communicators!
      keep your comments coming. i really appreciate them.

  5. Trey McCrary says:

    right. let’s get this bad boy started. brill idea, lady. colour this homo an excited shade of ecstatic. this is gonna be effin fun.

    so i was 16 and the year was 1994. being the precocious kid i was and still like to believe am, i somehow talked my dear sweet parents to not only buy their teenager a phone, only to then let him run up bills that are the reason that places like Greece are effed at the moment. anywho, i had convinced mom that if she didn’t make dad get me a cell phone (must remember that at that time calling it a mobile was still an ocean and three years away) some scary man would take advantage of me in ways that we both knew i wanted but both fought so violently to banish the thought from our today. dad finally breaks down and gets me one. and it is a flip phone. a flip phone. fuck me i was the dog’s bollocks. i took that phone EVERYWHERE in my pocket. and no, it really was a phone and i was not happy to see any of you. well, some. but that is another story.

    one day i was at school and i was going to be late for some nebulous reason so thought i would be all t diddy and pull out my motorola grey flip phone with green numerical screen and call my moms. at this very moment, the algebra II teacher was coming around the corner. this woman and me, well, not so much. so to her joy and my surprise mrs x= bitchface had me in the vice principal’s office. i’m still not sure what i did when this large bucket of chicken of a man, all greasy and full of bad juju, was all over me going on about some state law just passed.

    now, if you remember, i am from the great state of old sparky, no last meals, and mssrs bush and perry. and indeed, the state legislature had given schools power to confiscate cell phones from students ON SIGHT in order to curb the rampant drug dealings going down on my middle class campus in the middle of the heart of the buckle of the bible belt. seriously, not really the wire was it? but i digress. the colonel then informs me that my phone was now his phone. well not HIS phone, but it would not be mine any more. and not in a “come get it out of my desk at the end of the year” kinda way. nope. this gork just stoleded my god damn grey motorola flip phone with EXTENDABLE ANTENNA and green numerical display in a fucked up kinda way.

    well, you knows me and this would not stand. fuck this guy if he thought he was going to take away my first ever true status symbol (beepers were cool, but that really did scream crack whore after the age of 14). so i went home and did what i do best. i read. i went to the library. i used these magical things called card catalogues and fuck me if i didn’t use the last operational microfiche machine in lubbock texas. i was getting my fucking phone back.

    and then i found it. my deus ex machina. so i tell my mom to arrange a meeting at central office (this gem was too worthy to be doled out to a midlevel local administrator- i wanted real brass) with the asst super intendant of high schools. a lovely, kind educator named mr washington. but upon our arrival, his niceness was only to mask the sad fact that the school district was well within its rights to take my precious away from me. well like gollum, i pounced on mr washington’s words and asked if he was aware of the wording of the legislation he was referring to. of course he indicated he was very familiar and had indeed made a copy for me and my mother. i then asked him if he read the whole of the wording, which again his wide sympathetic good dad smile indicated he had (but i have since learned this technique to employ facial subterfuge myself). I then proceeded to remind him that he should then be returning the phone to the third party who owned it, as the statute required him to do. he pointed out that since i owned my phone, he could not as that part of the statute was written in to ensure the state did not interfere with the lawful ownership of phones that were leased. imagine the almost orgasmic pleasure dripping from my 16 year old lips when i pointed out that since i was under the age of majority, i could not own the phone, and indeed it was my parents who owned it and allowed me to use it. but since the state is acting in loco parentis while i am at school i could not represent my own parents interests, thus making the phone property of a third party. the legal maneuvers might not have held true, but the look on his and then my mother’s faces were enough to let me know i was walking out of that office with my phone.

    and i haven’t put it down since.

    • project1979 says:

      trey-
      did you have a phone at nti? i remember having to use a pay phone for all of my calls. perhaps part of the reason i felt so disconnected from the world! the line was long and there was no privacy.
      did you get a law degree? if not, perhaps you should. that account of the cell phone saga is priceless!
      how much does the phone play a role in your life now?
      thanks so much for your comments!
      alice

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