Well, we've joined the 21st century. This week we bought a cellphone. Probably doesn't seem like a momentous purchase, but we live in a community without cell service, and one that is soundly resisting all efforts by communications companies to bring it into the cellular era. So we feel guilty and traitorous. But our trips to Calgary have shifted the balance for us. After realizing how many delays and extra stops and inconveniences for both ourselves and the people we're trying to meet up with the lack of a cellphone has caused, I finally bit the bullet.
In homage to my Ludditish community roots (and in keeping with my basically frugal nature, as well as my desire for simplicity) I bought one that doesn't have a radio, a camera, an MP3 player, internet access or any other bells and whistles. It's a phone, and just a phone. Okay, I lie. It has a couple of lame games, and also a ring-tone composer, which the kids gravitated to immediately, setting me up with a ringtone that is the first phrase of the 2nd movement of the Telemann Violin Concerto in G major. That I can live with. It has about 100 minutes of time on it, and that won't expire until January 2009 if we don't use it up -- which we may not, since we'll only be able to use it 2-3 days a month, when we're in the city.
We took calls from four different people in Calgary. Yes, we could have phoned them or e-mailed them our hotel number, but that will change every trip, and our cell number will stay the same and that makes it simpler for others. The cellphone also works even before we've checked in to the hotel, which we don't do until after we've had our first day in the city. On the way home we were stopped and re-routed (a 3-hour detour) around an accident on the TransCanada highway that had closed both lanes. I used a payphone to let Chuck know about the delay, because one was handy, but later Noah delightedly used the cellphone to call home again and update him on our slower-than-expected detour, letting him know we'd be on the 7 pm ferry and likely not home until almost 9.
So far so good. Assuming cell service doesn't come to our community, I think it will be a very helpful addition to our travels. If we do get cell service "at home" at some point, I think it will be as if the ground has tilted, and we probably will start sliding down a slippery slope.