Into the technology age: No need to waste time

Published 10:50 pm Friday, August 12, 2011

Don’t ever say what you won’t do, because that’s exactly what you’ll do.

Mama was right about that.

I would have sworn on the dictionary that I would never own a cell phone.

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Why do I need one? I have friends.

But, “friends are not always with you. You’re off on country roads by yourself and out late at night. You need a cell phone. For emergencies.” That’s the way children talk to their mamas when we get to the mature age.

Well, my son bought me a cell phone at the Dollar General. It cost $10 and had 20 free minutes. That was back at the beginning of the summer. It now has 14 minutes and 53 seconds.

I’ve used it twice. Both on the same day, in the same hour.

I was driving from Atlanta to Birmingham and was supposed to meet my other son for lunch. I got in a traffic jam and saw that I was going to be late.

I decided to eat crow and use the cell phone.

I almost rear-ended the pickup truck in front of me trying to figure out how to use the darn thing. The traffic was moving like a three-legged turtle anyway so I did just like you’re supposed to do. I stopped while I talked on the phone. Those honking horns didn’t bother me one bit. I was on my cell. The world could wait.

Two minutes or more later, I finally go the thing to ring. Then I got the canned voice with instructions on what to do when no one is available to take your call.

Everybody in the universe knows what to do when no one is available to take your call. I didn’t need to hear that. It was using my allotment of minutes.

“Just do it.” Lady, just say that. It worked for those tennis shoes folk, it will work for you.

When I was finally allowed to talk to the machine, I said, “Traffic jam. Be late.” I didn’t want to use my valuable minutes.

About 30 minutes later, I was moving again. This time, I was cell phone savvy and dialed right up. Again, I got that same lady with the same message. My meter was running. “Be there in a few minutes,” I voiced.

A few minutes later, my son called asking all kinds of questions. Where are you? How long will you be? Do you want to meet somewhere else?

“I’m coming. Just stay put!”

Doggone his time. He was using my emergency minutes asking foolish questions.

“You’ve still got 14 minutes and 53 seconds,” my son said, not one bit apologetic that he has consumed a goodly portion of them.

Evidently, it didn’t register with him that they are “emergency” minutes. Emergency minutes, not yak-yak minutes.

I did not want to waste them.

My children feel much better about me these days since I have a cell phone. I don’t carry it with me anywhere. And, I’m not fibbing when they ask, “Mama, do you have your cell phone?” I can honestly say, “Yes, I do” because I do have one – at home where my minutes are holding at 14 minutes and 53 seconds.

The note on my calendar for Aug. 12, said “Time to refill phone.”

For Aug. 15, it says “Last day to refill phone.” Think I’ll wait until Monday. No need to waste time.

Jaine Treadwell is features editor of The Messenger.