Friday, November 28, 2008

Seduced by the dark side

by Suzanne Welsh

For the past year I've had a cell phone. Yes, me, the lone hold out in my town where people upgrade electronic devices like changing shoes, broke down and bought my first cell phone. To give you a little past history of why this was so monumental, let me take you back to an age when cell phones were nothing more than a glint in Ray Bradbury's eyes as he wrote his first Star Trek screenplay.

As a young teen I loved talking on the phone. It was the social network of our time. The phone hung on the wall in the kitchen, but the cord was long enough to stretch to the stairs leading down to our basement. (In Ohio we all had basements.) So after dinner, washing the dishes and doing my homework I could spend half an hour perched on the top step talking to my friends--usually my best friend Marion or my equally good friend Terry. We'd talk about school, boys, friends, boys, clothes, boys, music....and yeah...boys

That stayed the norm until I went away to nursing school. Then I'd talk to boys, friends and my family on the pay phone at the end of the dorm hall, a fact that probably saved my nursing school career, since it limited the time I could spend distracted from studying, (minus the TV time, the chatting in other people's dorm rooms time, oh yeah and the vodka on the weekend time.)

By the time I started my family portable phones were the new rage. But I stood by my old favorite, the wall mounted phone. Didn't have to worry about charging it between uses. Always knew where it was...mounted on the wall. And any child wanting to talk on the phone had to do it within hearing range of the mama. :)

But then we moved to Texas about the same time cell phones invaded every home. It was amazing to look around when stopped at red lights to see every driver in front, behind and around me talking on a cell phone. One day I was at the groceries, enjoying the quiet as I thumped the cantelopes, only to have my peace distrubed by a lady yelling at her child over the cell phone. Please, I'd come shopping to get away from my family. Why would I want them to be able to find me via a portable phone?

After that a few things happened to change my mind.

1) I became a romance writer. I made friends and started traveling more for my new career. I needed to stay in touch with my family, and having a cell phone meant no long distance bills to my husband, no matter where I'd roamed.

2) My daughter became pregnant. Now it was very important for me to be reached any hour of the day or night.

3) It was time to come out of the dark ages. People were actually texting and on the internet from their phones. Sigh. The old wall mounted phone could never do that!

So now I find myself charging my phone when I'm at home. My kids ONLY call my cell, unless I don't answer that. At work, I put it on vibrate and carry it in my pocket...but only IF I'm expecting one of them to call. Despite my seduction to the dark side of modern communication, I refuse to talk on the phone in a patient's room!

So dear friends, how about you? Have you ever held out against something, only to slowly be seduced to it's good points?


hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Ah yes, the dark side

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

I am currently trying to withstand the lure of an e-reader.
I did finally succumb to the cell phone but it was a struggle. In October a man ran a stop sign and totaled my car, yeah, you guessed it, he was on a cell phone (not hands free)and just ran me down. If I forget my head set I either pull over or don't answer.

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

oh yeah, Dianna gets the GR, come here chooky baby, you have kitchen duty

flchen1 said...

Tons of things, Suz! I seem to be a bit of a slow adopter to many things, and my poor husband drags me, kicking and screaming, into the modern era. Digital cameras, TiVo (how on earth did we ever watch TV before this?), cell phones, computers... Left to my own devices, I would probably be in the Dark Ages!

Congrats on the GR, Dianna--keep an eye on him!

Helen said...

Congrats on the GR Dianna enjoy your time with him

So many things that I don't like to try but I have had a cell phone for about 10 years but hardly ever use it LOL

Something that I have dug my heels in about and will not use is self serve checkouts our supermarket and Big W dept store have had them for about 1 year now and I refuse to use them reason 1 I like to talk to someone if I must be at the shops and reason 2 I would hate to think that I may be helping keep someone out of a job. Only this morning I went to the shops early to pick up some coke and diet coke that they had on special and also Annie West's new book got to the checkouts and only the self serve were working no people on the registars I asked the workers standing near the desk and they showed me to the self serve and I told them that I would not use them they did get a person on for me but not happily.

Have Fun

Suzanne Welsh said...

Hey, Fedora!

I got my digital camera at the same time I got my cell phone last year. That was one of those conversations I had with hubby.

Me: "I want a digital camers."
Him: "You'll need a battery, a photocard, a case, a charger..."
Me: "No, you misunderstand me. I wish YOU to go forth and procure, then come home and show me how it all works."

End result--hubby spent 2 solid blissful hours in the electronic store while I read a book. Then I got my camera, all parts necessary and detailed instructions with little hassle to me!

Suzanne Welsh said...

Hey, Helen!

High fives you on the non use of the self service at the grocery. I absolutely refuse to use it either. When they insisted I use it one morning, (early coz I like to shop on my way home from work), I complained and mucked it up (intentionally) so someone ended up checking me out anyways.

My theory is, I worked real hard to load my cart, let someone else do the scanning and bagging. And I'm with you. I hate putting someone else out of a job for my supposed convenience.

Suzanne Welsh said...

Good morning!

Congrats, Dianna on the GR! I wish I had someone to help with kitchen duty today.

And I understand your temptation with the e-readers. Two of my friends adore theirs. When I stare at my huge TBR pile I am soooooooooooo tempted!

Deb Marlowe said...

Hi Suz!

Timely blog, as I just went over to the Mac side! Yes, I bought myself a new laptop and went Mac. Still learning the bells and whistles, but I'll let you know how it works out!

My kids have serious laptop envy. :-)

Carol said...

Well caught Rooster...Dianna, (Whisper it's an electronic ram- based GR)

ATM...I resisted them for years...finally had to go over to the dark side! I thought I was helping keep people in jobs...then those same people actually signed their own jobs away with so-called enterprise bargaining I thought Why should I worry about their jobs if they want to give away their benefits for a few dollars extra!!! Sorry to be cynical about this but it is true!

The convenience of these electronic gadgets is amazing...and actually lives saved because of them! recently a man was lost in QLD. forest and he was tracked by his phone! Those sattelite GPS used at sea enable stranded boat positions to be found and people rescued !

Rigging up the video to record at a particular time...I'm hopeless at it...I can burn stuff on the computer but the video...brain dead !!

And Suzzanne I've seen some of those amazing machines in hospital...the intriguing one for me is the one that they stick on your finger and it tell how much oxygen is in the blood....incredible!!!
Cheers Carol

Amy Andrews said...

Hi to Suzanne and all the banditas - its been a while since I popped in. I missed you guys!!!

I had a mobile phone for years but never used it - didn't even know my own number!

Then my kids went to school and its so handy to have when I'm out and about in case the school needs to contact me. And then its a slow I can text with the best of them.

I can't see me ever going to e format for books though. Nup. No. Never. Sorry. I'm too much of a

Happy Thanksgiving to you all - yes, probably a little late. My brother moved to SF in September so I got to wish him a Happy Thanksgiving too!!

Joan said...

Suz, the future is calling :-)

Well, I'm a mixed bag. The things I resist have to do with the COST of the things I resist. I have had a cell for ages and even forward my home phone number to it while I'm out and I AM lured to do texting but don't because it COSTS more each month!

That said, I am yearning for a iPhone.

I did get DVR on my cable but hold onto my antiquated VHS player.

I REALLY want a Wii after playing one at my friend's house and soundly defeating a 5 yo at baseball :-)

Recently broke down and got an iPod Nano....LOVE IT! So far have a selection of Country tunes and the entire Lord of the Dance soundtrack.

I really do not want an e-reader because I like holding books. Plus a book never had to be recharged.

And come on, I LOVE the self check out. Will stand in line just to do it because I don't want to dally with somebody slowly scanning my items and I don't get into arguments about putting only TWO items per plastic bag! I hate that.

Now off to the finish line...

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Oh yeah, I won't use the self serve check outs either. If I am going to do work for the store then I want paid. Little miss cindy lou standing there with her arms folded can check me out thank you very much. I too feel that I am taking someone's wages. I am sure it is a battle we will lose eventually but for the moment I am still withstanding that one.

I have heard so many pros and cons on the e-readers but I really do want one. The cost is outrageous though and I just can't swing that. My cell phone was free and my service takes the place of my land line so basically I am out about 20.00 per month more than the land line.

jo robertson said...

Dianna, tell us -- Does the GR have a dark side?

Great topic, Suz.

I'm a slow converter to just about everything. But the cell phone is a must. Now that CA has a no-hands policy on cells, I must buy a new one.

I think I'll get one that does the dishes.

terrio said...

This is soooo weird. I too grew up in Ohio with a phone on the wall which had a cord I stretched to talk on my basement steps. LOL! AND we talked about boys...ALOT. LOL! Okay, so that part's not so weird.

I held out on the cell phone until 2003. That's when the radio station I worked for decided they wanted to get ahold of me anytime of day, so they gave me one to use. I was skeptical. After all, I'd made it over 30 years without one, how critical could it be? Now, I can't imagine NOT having one.

The irony is that now I don't even have a home phone. Don't really need the expense when I have unlimited long distance and the phone is always with me. Other than that charging thing, it's a pretty good set up.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Dianna, sounds like you've got a tall, dark and handsome ROOSTER to visit you today! Congratulations!

Oh, Suz, I snickered when I read your post. Clearly we have SOOOO much in common. I'm a very slow adapter of modern technology. I figure if the old stuff still works, why should I replace it? I figure if I've never had something that does the new stuff and I've lived to my advanced age, who needs it?

But just last year, it all got too hard when I was out and about at things like writers festivals and people needed to contact me. And then they got cranky when I didn't have a mobile - never a good look on an editor, I find! So I cracked and bought a mobile. Still hardly use it for anything except to order a taxi - because everyone now has mobiles, it's really tough to find a public phone these days. Mostly it's off and it sits in my backpack but I do use it when I'm away from home. Because I use it so rarely, though, I've never really become proficient at using it. Which means I'm always opening internet I don't want instead of checking messages (ouch - it's expensive to do that!) and I haven't worked out either how to receive or send an SMS. Which causes crankiness to, sadly! So all round, I'm not sure I'm much further advanced than I was before I bought the blasted thing!

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!

Maureen said...

My husband and I did not want cell phones either but our daughter talked us into them and then my daughter insisted I learn to text message but my husband is holding out against it.

Helen said...

I do use my mobile to text messages although it took the kids a while to show me how to do it but that part of the phone I like now.

I have heard so much about the E-Readers but I don't think I would like one of them I really do like holding a book in my hands and from what I have heard the good ones are rather expensive.

Have Fun

Suzanne Welsh said...

Sorry to leave y'all hanging, but a funny thing about keyboards...spill grapefruit juice on them, even just a few well placed drops, and poof your L won't work, or your B, or the backspace...oh and the numbers from 6-0!

So I let my daughter talk me into a trip to the mall on my least favorite day to shop, but used it as an excuse to pick up a new keyboard!!

Even I can't live without this piece of technology.

Suzanne Welsh said...

Hey Deb! Just picked up your newest Harlequin, AN IMPROPER ARISTOCRAT, today while out at the mall today.

Someday I hope to have a laptop of my very own. Maybe I'll even ask for a Mac, then, too. For the time being I share hubby's.

Suzanne Welsh said...

Ah, Carol, at the hospital I am much more open to new technology. But I'm also the only nurse who knows what it's like to run high risk meds without a pump. Not too long ago, at another hospital, they ran out of the pumps and I had to teach the other nurses how to calculate drip rates based on tubing size alone. (Yes, they think I'm a goddess!!)

And I periodically pull out the manual BP to check Blood Pressures, just to keep the skill and to check the accuracy of the electronics...which is usualy spot on!

But at home, I'm being dragged kicking and screaming into the electronic age.

Suzanne Welsh said...

Hey Amy!

Luckily for me, my kids don't text me. Mostly because it costs extra money for them! But I watch the nurses at work text constantly. Me, I only want to be bothered from family at home if it's an emergency.

And I too, am a ludite. I enjoy the pleasure or turning the pages and holding the book as I read. But then, so did my friends who now love their e-readers.

It's only time until I cave, of that I'm sure.

Suzanne Welsh said...

Oh man, Joanie...those Iphones are pretty cool!! I played with one of the girls at work's phone. Tooo coool.

Yes, I have an Ipod, too. Mine contains lots of classic rock to drown out those talking around me at work or home AND to keep me awake in the middle of the night.

That is a great piece of technology.

How do y'all feel about wireless mice?

Suzanne Welsh said...

Oooooooooooo Jo. Do they make phones that do the dishes? How about one that mops floors?

Now that would be technology I'd love to have!!

One that cooks, too, might be nice.

Suzanne Welsh said...

Hehehe, Terrio, it must be a generational thing.

I find I rely more and more on my cell phone and less on the land line. Quite honestly, work and my mom have my land line number. Everyone else usually uses the cell number, so at some point I'll be switching to it and losing the land line, I'm sure.

Deb Marlowe said...

Hi Suz!

Thanks for picking up An Improper Aristocrat! I hope you enjoy my Regency antiquity hunter and his half-Egyptian novelist heroine---I had a blast writing their story!

I logged back on to tell you guys that I'm just back from a lunch date with my buddy Michelle Willingham, who writes fabulous Irish Medievals for Harlequin Historicals, and what did I see on the way? An SUV in front of me with licensce plates that read


Suzanne Welsh said...

Hey Anna!

Isn't it weird how our writing careers necessitated us getting cell phones? Especially all the travel it now involves. Poor us! hehehe

Susan Seyfarth said...

Hi, Suz--

I'm with you on the cell phone thing. I don't get the whole plugged in 24/7 thing. Sometimes I like to be unavailable. The only thing that convinced me to get (and carry) my cell phone was the fact that I now drive around a car full of toddlers on wintery roads. Before the babies, it was just me, a survival kit & a big ugly pair of boots. :-)

My husband adores his iphone, though. I often have to tell him to put it away & interact with the family.

Suzanne Welsh said...

OMG Deb! How funny. You never know where that wiley old Golden Rooster will show up! In fact, I hear he may be making a bigger appearance on the blog in Dec...stay tuned for details!

Suzanne Welsh said...

Hey Maureen! My sister bought my mother one, since she drives her daughter around a lot. Funny thing is, Mom's purse will be ringing her ring tone...Rocky Top Tennessee, and Mom will just say, "You know I love that song", but not answer it...until we tell her to!

Suzanne Welsh said...

Hey Susan!

With three kids in three years, I was very stingy about my alone time when they were growing up! Even if it was half an hour at the groceries, it was great being unavailable and did much to restore my sanity.

Now I'm enjoying the convenience of being able to call hubby as I drive home, and ask, "Want mexican tonight? You order, I'll pick up!"

And I imagine, there's more peace of mind having a phone when you're out on those icy roads with the kids.

Joan said...

You know I love that song", but not answer it...until we tell her to!

OMG, that is SO funny!

And a plate with Golden R?????

That bird, he's just flaunting it that he didn't get set on the platter yesterday.

Nancy said...

Dianna, congrats on grabbing the rooster! Put him to work washing dishes or some such.

I'm so sorry about your accident. I see people doing idiot things like that on the phone all the time.

I'm resisting e-readers until they become cheaper and develop a universal format.

Suz, you sound like the dh--only his cell phone, acquired after years of urging (nagging? pleading? hectoring?) and mainly because we had to get one for the boy to take on a trip and needed the dh's work discount, which meant he had to sign the contract and get a phone, lives in the car. He calls it "an accessory for my glove compartment." *sigh* At least he doesn't need to charge it often.

I actually held out againt Harry Potter and Battlestar Galactica. I resist all things trendy. The contrarian part of my makeup digs in its heels and says, "Nah." However, we tried Harry in paperback and were instantly won over. BSG took a little longer. I still wouldn't say I like it, exactly. It's a bit dark for my taste. But it's extremely well done and engrossing.

Nancy said...

Fedora, I have a digital camera. I even use it. I just don't know how to plug it into my computer--and we can forget all the fancy settings!

Suz, I'm traditional the "procure and demonstrate" person, so my digital problems ripple through to the dh. The boy, on the other hand, just blitzes ahead.

Helen, self-serve checkout can be a pain. We use it, but we frequently have to call the attendant.

Deb, welcome to the Mac legion. I have a PC at school, and I still see no reason a mouse needs more than one button. I love my Mac, which boots in a fraction of the time that PC does.

Carol, I admire you for planning ahead enough to avoid ATMs. I frequently find myself in need of one, especially on the road.

Nancy said...

Amy, welcome back!

I initially used my cell phone for contact away from home, and I still mostly use it for that. It lives in my purse, so I usually can't hear it if I'm in the house. It can be very handy for checking back while running errands.

Joan wrote: Now off to the finish line... Yes, ma'am! You get cracking! Roll that Roman right out!

Jo, if you can find a cell phone that does the dishes, your fortune is MADE!

Nancy said...

Maureen, my husband and yours are on the same page. They'll be ordering heaters in Hades before the dh learns to text. I don't do it either, but mainly because no one I communicate wtih regularly does it. Some people I know swear by it, though.

Suz wrote: I enjoy the pleasure or turning the pages and holding the book as I read. Me, too. And I like the smell of a new hardback. I'm sorry about your keyboard. At least you were able to replace it quickly. I've never tried a wireless mouse.

Deb Marlowe wrote: An SUV in front of me with licensce plates that read GOLDEN R

Oh, cripes! He's learned to drive. And seems to have acquired a car.

Banditas, check your credit cards, quick!

Thanks for the warning, Deb, and congrats on your new release. I look forward to reading it.

limecello said...

lol I love my cell phone and have had one for ... 8 years now? I was never a hold out on that.
As for something else... :X I'm afraid I can't think of what I'm a hold out on either. Maybe some day. Or... hair? I've never dyed it, or had it permed or straightened. Ever.

Suzanne Welsh said...

Nancy said: He calls it "an accessory for my glove compartment."

Too funny! I guess we could call my mom's an accessory for her purse!

I still haven't read the Harry Potter books. Just watch the movies!

Suzanne Welsh said...

That's my kids Limecello! They adapted to cell phones years ago when they moved away from home. Since they had to pay the bills, they quickly learned to harness their texting and phone minutes. Luckily for my whole family, I work nights, so they call me after 10 most of the time, so they don't use any minutes to talk to me.

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Jo, we all know the GR has a dark side and he is sneaky about it too.
Right now him and the cats have a stand off, I caught him going through my trash but he didn't find any turkey bones. I told him to stop the surveillance stuff and get to the dishes, laundry is next.

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Nancy the e-readers are expensive but I am trying to talk the bf into getting me one for Christmas. I love my books but it is really getting hard for me to hold them for very long without more aches and pains. The ole wrists and hands are not what they used to be.

Louisa Cornell said...

I'M BA AAACK!!!! I finished my Golden Heart entry at 9 AM this morning after a literal all night writing session. And believe it or not I worked 8 hours after I got that puppy in the mail. So, for better or worse the first version of my second book is done! Now, on to the revisions!

I have missed you all SO MUCH!!! This blog restriction thing is NOT NICE!!

Now, as to the cell phone, I didn't get one until I went to Nationals in August. My dear, dear sister/friend Gaill got it for me so I could call her with all the details. As it has given my brothers and my Mom some piece of mind when I drive home late from work I have decided it is a pretty good thing.

I tend to be very slow in warming up to technology. I'm the person who rode her horse to Food World when Alabama had one of its rare snowstorms. I think I was born in the wrong time.

And my brother convinced me to get a computer and it is completely responsible for the rebirth of my writing dream. The Avon FanLit event was an online writing competition and community and after the wonderful experience I had there I have kept on writing and haven't looked back.

I think I would like and AlphaSmart just because I could take it to work with me and just about anywhere else I go.

I love the friends I have gained through technology so I guess you can say this old dinosaur decided to learn to fly rather than sink into a tar pit!!

And Deb - Yankee Lady - guess what I bought at Wal-Mart Wednesday??? I am taking it to work with me tomorrow to read on my breaks and lunch. SQUEEE!! I took it over to the bakery and told the girls "Yankee Lady wrote this book!"

It's good to be back! Now what's this about the GR acquiring an SUV while I was gone. I can't leave you ladies alone with him for a minute!

Helen said...

It is good to hear from you I am glad you have got that enrty in the mail good luck.
This is a worry about the GR driving around with personalized number plates what has he been up to?

Have Fun

Joan said...

Woohoo, Louisa!!!!

I just finished MY second entry to the GH. I am worn to a frazzle but as of 9 am tomorrow it is winging its way to Houston! I am zoned.

My computer is already an extension of ME. I would really go insane if I couldn't check email during my DDJ.

I never delay patient care to do it....I might say "Here! Swallow these pain pills fast cause the Banditas might be saying something important" LOL