The World According To Fultonian
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1/4/2008 9:02:34 PM
Since an early age, I have had a certain respect or fondness for - telephones. From dumpster diving at the Bell depot for telephone parts in the early seventies, to "The Pushbutton Telephone Songbook", to building my own telephones, I have been a phone geek longer than I have been a computer geek.

Many people, including all of us at Chez Fultonian, have jettisoned land lines and use cell phones exclusively. While this has a great many advantages, it does take some getting used to - not only for us, but those who call us.

Lack of Extensions. Possibly because of my obsession, er, fondness for telephones, when we had a land line, we had extensions everywhere. When the phone rang, nobody had to move very far to answer the phone. Unless you invest in a high-tech option, with cell phones, you don't have extensions. That means that the phone must be with you even at home or you will make a mad dash reminiscent of Tom and Jerry to get to the phone when it rings.

Other's Assumptions and Issues When people find out that you only have cell phones, they make the intellectual leap that you are always reachable and if you don't answer, then you are intentionally deciding not to talk to them specifically. This isn't necessarily true - see below.

Another issue that some people have is that they apparently only have one place per family in their personal phone directory for a phone number. Hence, when someone from the church wants to call my wife, they end up calling me because my phone is the number listed in the church directory.

Of course, when my sister told my mom that we had gotten rid of our land line, she responded with, "They can't do that!".

My Possibly Unusual Attitude Toward The Phone Even before we got rid of the land line, I had developed the attitude that my phone is mine and if I don't want to answer it, I don't have to. This really drove the kids nuts when they were younger.

[Phone Ringing with me sitting next to it]

One of my kids: "Dad, the phone is ringing." Me: "I know it."

Kid: "If you don't answer it soon they will hang up." Me: "I know it."

Kid: "But Dad, you have to answer it." Me: "It's my phone and I'll answer it if I want to."

Breaking out in song at this point didn't usually gain me any points with them...

Now that I have only a cell phone, it is much the same, only perhaps more defined. If I am busy, I don't answer my phone. Being busy can be nearly anything, but especially if I am in conversation with someone - I feel that it is disrespectful to the person I am speaking with to have them sit there and wait while I am on the phone. (I admit that sometimes I make that decision based on the caller ID.) Also, I feel this is rude if I am in a restaurant eating with someone. It is only marginally less rude to the other patrons in the restaurant if I am alone.

Finally, let me say that I like not getting telemarketing calls. However, one thing that frosts me (even in summer) is when someone (usually our insurance company or bank) calls. The problem is that they believe that their time is much more valuable than mine, so they uses an automated system that dials my number and once I answer, plays a recorded message like, "Hello. BigWig Insurance company has an important message. Please wait for the next available representative." Once the message begins, I hang up. If it is really that important, someone can personally dial the phone and wait for ME to answer.

Well, enough rants for now... Be sure to let me know what you think!

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