Siri, is that you?

Have I ever mentioned my flip phone? I love my flip phone. My children convinced me a decade or so ago that I ought to have one so that I would be safe on the road. Horse pucky.

They just wanted to interrupt my life with mundane questions about laundry, sick dogs, insurance premiums, how to cure a cold, and dozens of other topics that only proved the umbilical cord had been re-connected and I was going nowhere without them.

Of course, once the novelty having instant communication with Mom wore off, they ignored me, quit taking my calls, or left me listening to a message about a full mailbox. There was always a great excuse about why they did not respond.

However, by then I liked the idea of having a cell phone. I got used to it and I really did appreciate the safety factor. Cell phones like mine seemed destined to be around for a while. On the other hand, as time went on, The Daughters got phones that were more and more sophisticated.

I was married to that flip phone and I fell far behind in the communication game because no one could text me or send me videos or photos. I had instant communication with my fellow news folks and I still felt safe when I traveled. Back then, I was driving to Colorado alone every four to six weeks to see my mother and I felt a great sense of security having my phone close by. For me, the flip phone met my communication needs.

I have watched families at the Youngest Daughter’s eating establishment get settled at a table and presto! Parents and children alike take out their phones and begin living their lives. The evening rarely includes face-to-face communication with one another. They are too busy on their cell phones.

I have followed drivers on the highway or on a country blacktop who weave from side to center, from center to side, and I know they are texting. I have seen other drivers approach me on a two-lane thoroughfare, their eyes looking down, not at the road, and I know they are texting. Those people scare me to death.

My poor old flip phone tries valiantly to accept text messages and photos, but rarely does anything appear following the notification. I am not sure where they go, but I can sometimes see parts of a text message that crawls across my screen one letter at a time. Before the end of the message, the screen goes dark. I have no clue how to revive it. I have no text minutes on my plan so perhaps that is why they fade away. However, I do not care. I pay about $35 a month for a service I appreciate. Sometimes the newspaper staff uses all of my minutes and my provider charges me a bit more and that is ok. If I used more, I should pay for it. It does not mean I need to upgrade to something bigger and better that I really do not want.

I have my phone for a specific purpose and it serves that purpose quite well. I do not want to be a slave to a ring tone. I do not want to spend my life looking at my life through a mechanism I hold in the palm of my hand. I am glad I do not have the option of ignoring my family or friends at the dinner table just because there is something popping up on the screen next to my plate.

As with most technology, however, we cannot remain stagnant. Eventually I will have to change to something with more options, apps, and other whatcha’ ma-call-its. That is the way of the world. The day will come when my poor old flip phone will no longer support the service I receive from my provider and I will have to move on.

That makes me wonder what ever happened to the woman who said, “Operator” when I picked up the telephone receiver to make a call when I was a kid. She probably thought her job would last forever, but her name was not Siri. Just goes to show you.

—susan marshall

Last modified Oct. 6, 2016