Monday, December 04, 2006

Moving to a cell phone

Primarily as a cost-cutting measure, we have eliminated our land line phone and gotten a second cell phone. In spite of an egregious $5/month charge from DISH Network for not having our DVR hooked to a working phone line (which the DVR never uses, since we never buy PPV movies), this still will save us a bit more than $10/month, plus a number of other advantages.
  • My wife handles calls for us most of the time, because I hate talking on the phone. Since the cell phone has been our primary number through several moves, that means any time I carry it, I risk having to be the one to deal with calls, often about subjects I'm not keeping up on. Now there's no reason for me to ever carry that cell phone.
  • When we're both away from home, but not together, I'll still have access to a phone in case of need. This doesn't happen often but when it does, it's a big deal.
  • I can use a Bluetooth headset, which I love, as it leaves my hands free and lets me walk around and continue doing things.
  • The cell phone has lots of features I didn't have on the land line, some of which I may even use (like connecting to my Palm's address book via Bluetooth).
  • Text messaging is nice, plus it means my computers at work can page me via SMS when something's wrong.
  • When DISH Network finally releases the update that allows that stupid $5 charge to go away, the monthly savings will be up to $15.
Just to be fair, there are downsides.
  • In case of some catastrophe in which someone else is at our house without either of us there and that person has no cell phone, they can still call 911 right now, but Verizon won't guarantee that that'll stay.
  • It might be harder to get DSL in the remote chance Verizon ever gets around to offering it in our area.
  • If I had to dial in with my laptop, I would be unable to do so via modem.


litlfrog said...

A slightly personal question: have you always hated talking on the phone? While I understand that you have some of the classic "geek" symptoms in which you're unsure in social situations, you seem to cope with it quite well. Do you remember a time when you realized, "Hey, I hate talking on the phone"?

HawthornThistleberry said...

I think I always hated it but I'm not sure when I realized. Over the years I've refined my understanding of it somewhat. I don't hate talking to people I know on the phone, but I hate having to do business with strangers on the phone, and doubly so if I'm the one to start the call -- presumably because then it falls to me to lead the call instead of simply reacting.

Mixed in with that is some amount of hating how the phone interrupts things. Most other forms of communication in which I engage are at least a little forgiving if I have to take a moment to finish a thought -- even face-to-face talking allows for that in a way phones don't, because the other person can follow your cues and hints. (That's why talking on a phone in the car is more dangerous than talking to the person in the passenger seat.) But the phone demands that you are doing this now, regardless of if it's a bad time, and you aren't doing anything else (though that part is reduced by the headset freeing you from having to cradle the phone against your ear, at least).

I'm a lot more comfortable with the phone now than I was years ago, but I'm still not as good at it as Siobhan is. Plus since she's the one to do the calls usually, I get an extra layer of awkwardness if I have to resume a conversation she initiated, which I might not know everything about.