Sunday, October 17, 2004

a momentous day. I have a working cell phone. Ethan, you win the bet. I held out for a while, but definitely not anything close to five years.
I got a cell phone because I want to be able to interact with other people on terms they feel more comfortable with. House calls and emails--dont work for most in a world where interactions are planned, connections are controlled, and availability is constant.
Most of all, I felt selfish not having a cell phone. I have all sorts of reasons not to presonally prefer it, but none of those reasons are all that important to me any more.For the convenience of others, carrying myself around on this leash, this little vibrating piece of plastic and metal in my pocket, is a worthy sacrifice.
That said, I am troubled by the place of cellphones in many of my interactions--used inappropriately, they are the ultimate enemies of presence. So, a few resolutions, or intentions, that I would like to strive for with my new cellphone.
1) vibrate only. no one else should be interrupted or distracted by someone calling me.
2) present people come first. Save in emergency situations, I do not want to interrupt any in-person conversations to answer a call. I want to give priority to where I am and who I am with. I also want to speak to people who call me in contexts when I can give them my full attention, when I can be as fully present with them as possible.

This kind of ethic will be hard. I love answering phones. I will wake up from the deepest stages of sleep and risk injury and all peril to sprint across a house and lunge for the receiver to answer a midnight call. Resisting the inviting vibrations against my thigh, little pleas and curious offerings of my pocket, will be tough. But it is a standard I hope to strive for.


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