My best kept secret is that I have a
cell phone. Unlike my friends who give out their cell numbers
with the wild abandon of so many desperate bachelors at closing
time, mine is a closely guarded secret. People ask me for my
cell number and I'm very honest about it. I say: "I'm not
going to give it to you because I never turn it on."
I basically see my cell phone as something
I carry for my convenience not other people's. That means
it gets used for outgoing calls only. All my good friends know
I never turn it on, and it's pointless to try to get me on it.
Often I'll find messages on it that are more than a week old.
My biggest problem is finding a pocket
to carry the thing. I refuse to get one of those nerdy little
holsters or belt clips that are used exclusively by techies and
rent-a-cops. A friend of mine decided to solve all his carrying
problems once and for all by getting a man purse for his cell
and other odds and ends. I would never say anything to him
but that's mostly because he's six foot four and used to play
Most of the time I use it when my friend
Rob and I visit each other's houses. We like to stand on the
porch when we arrive and call to say we're outside. It's goofy
and juvenile, but that's us. And it never gets tired.
When I do carry it, I forget I even have
it with me. A few weeks ago I was in a bank line and everyone
started staring at me. It took a couple of seconds to for me
to figure out that the annoying little tune of a cell phone ringing
was coming from me.
This is in fact my second cell. I had
one once before, but it ended badly. Someone stole it out of
my coat pocket. And did they make exotic calls to far away lands
before I could have it disconnected? No. They made three local
calls, all to escort agencies.
That's my story, and I'm sticking to
it. And bless my wife, she believes every word of it.
The worst part was trying to get my phone
replaced. With the fierce competition for the cell phone market,
I figured replacing my phone wouldn't be much trouble. Heck,
they practically throw them at you in shopping malls. I saw that
in Hong Kong they now have disposable cell phones. When the battery
wears down, you just chuck them away.
That wouldn't go over well in my house,
where we take Styrofoam pie plates to a dump two hundred kilometres
away just so we can recycle them.
So imagine my surprise when my former
cell company informed me that the cheapest phone they would sell
me cost more than the rest of my entire contract. I pointed out
that they weren't giving me much of an incentive to stay a loyal
customer, and was basically told to like it or lump it. The nice
woman actually suggested I try scrounging around in some pawn
shops to see if I could pick up one that used to belong to some
down-on-his-luck crack dealer.
So I ended up taking my business across
the street to another company.
It's not like anyone knows my number,
and I can just as easily not answer a new cell phone.