On Ten Years of Cellularity

Well approximately. I’ve actually had one of those beautiful devices a bit longer, but acquired my OWN cell phone for the first time on April 15, 2006. But, let’s take a quick jaunt into the history of its development, at least as it happened for me.

Ah, don’t those ringtones bring back so many memories? The first time I heard that teny sound up close was in 2000, when my cousin got a phone from my Aunt for emergencies. But when you’re in college, “emergencies” often means talking to girls. I did just that, with a “woman” and I use that term loosely, that I met via a chat line. I wonder if they still have those silly old things. This “woman” had to use 21 in every user address she had online, and, well I just thank all that is good that I couldn’t afford to go and investigate more about who she was as I was a broke college student in Charlotte and she resided in Cincinnati.

Anyhow, the relevance to cell phones is that we talked for an hour on that thing. I was so happy, because it was the first time I didn’t have to use the expensive Personal Security Code (remember those?) or go and get calling cards from the “C-Store,” as we called it at UNC Charlotte. Those things kind of ripped you off on the minutes, too. That cell phone nearly melted my hand and face though, as it got so hot!

In November of 2003, I received a phone from my Aunt that she covered billwise for the first six months. Given that I was post-college and pre-job, my finances weren’t yet ready to handle such costs. But she knew having this device would actually aid in my job search, and again it aided in my talking on a chat line as well. It only had 200 anytime minutes though, with unlimited nights and weekends, so I usually started use at 9, unless it was a holiday. Yay free holidays!

Then the “revolution” really began with the introduction of the LG 4650. I couldn’t wait to get this, because it would mean that I could access my contacts easily and would have caller ID, cool! I purchased this through Verizon, and have had the same number ever since. I was bummed that I could see how to set the alarms and such in the expansive manual, but still couldn’t do so because those menus didn’t talk.

Then in 08, I got an upgrade to the LG 9900, also known I think as the EnV. This brought the joy of texting into my life, which I loved as one who was always a bit shy when actually speaking. This has had social consequences though, and not all of them good. The problem with that phone is that it wouldn’t read the names attached to incoming messages, so I as a blind person had to carefully monitor conversations. On my boldest days, I would hold three at once and usually send the wrong thing to somebody at some time. “I’m sorry, what are you talking about?” This created many amusements.

The next and final non SmartPhone upgrade was to the Samsung Haven. Finally I could tell whom was messaging me! But, the battery on that thing was terrible, as I would be lucky if I could hold a conversation for 30 unplugged minutes. And I could still barely access anything else therein, even though this “simple” device was marketed as friendly to people who are blind.

And now, of course, I have my iPhone which will likely have to be pulled from my cold, dead hands. As some have pointed out, I don’t think it’s even fair to call these things “cell phones” anymore, as they do at least all of the basic things my computer does. But that part of the story I have covered numerous times, and no doubt will again soon.

So here’s to ten more years of connectedness to people 2000 miles away while conveniently ignoring the person sitting right beside me! Share some of your history as it relates to cell phones. I’m sure you have some amusing stories.

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