It’s time again for my biannual reassessment of whether I can get by in the United States without a cell phone. I haven’t been able to get any reception in my apartment for the past two months. I got rid of my land-line a while ago when I got pissed off being beholden to Cox for my cable, since I didn’t want to give them any more money than I had to. I have boycotted AT&T since finding out that they are the largest contributor to Capitol Hill. This means they throw more money at Congress than any other one of the oil, pharma, banking, housing, insurance, or military / defense companies!!! Think about that for a moment!
I did the math. If only 20 people in each of our 50 states with an average cell phone bill of $100 cancelled their service for a year, this would be more than a million dollars not given to AT&T. People—especially those of us in the United States where our culture revolves around constant purchasing—should not underestimate the power of boycott.
In my youth we didn’t have cell phones; however pay phones were readily available for booty-calls or emergencies. Goodness!!! I remember our parents giving us little allotments of time to talk on the phone at home with our friends—especially before call waiting.
I recently needed a payphone to call my bank when my wallet and cell phone slipped out of my pocket at a movie theater. Payphones aren’t easily found in my affluent beach-side community. It was around closing time at the bars, so I stopped to ask a sheriff stationed at the most popular hangout where I could find a pay phone. He scratched his head, asked his buddies, and guessed there might be one at a nearby fast food joint. When I drove there, the phone ended up being a couple of doors down. I had forgotten the particular plastic-metal smell a payphone exudes.
Aside from the negative ties major telecom companies have to mining minerals (mountaintop removal, killing in the Congo/Africa), I am not keen on the idea of carrying a tracking device wherever I go—especially one noting every single keystroke I make in airline mode and sent over an https connection.
(^Skip to 8:36 if you are not the least bit technically savvy or are impatient to see that our cell phone and https transmissions are monitored–and the supposed encryption perfectly visible– in airline mode)
I don’t have anything to hide, but the Orwellian quality niggles at my craw.
When traveling abroad, I can always rent a phone if I need it. Aside from conducting business, a cell is most helpful making rendezvous with new foreign friends or an appointment for a museum visit after lunch in Firenze. Is this a convenience worth killing millions in the Congo over and relinquishing my privacy? Probably not.