“Give it up, dude. Enough is enough,” my friend scolded me in public. “Even homeless people have cell phones.”

The comment stung, if only for a second.

He wasn’t wrong. I’m that guy – the one who took the big leap a few years ago and installed a cordless phone. I’m the dude you see lurking around the sides of convenience stores, jingling two quarters in my hand and desperately searching for that greasy black headset and twisted metal coil. Just like a modern-day Martha the carrier pigeon, I’m virtually the last of my kind. I still own no cell phone.

And let me tell you, it’s getting lonely at the bottom. One-by-one the last of the hold-outs have fallen like dominoes. They’ve turned tail, unplugged and custom packaged their new calling plans. Yep, even the most devout Luddites have traded up, sent their land lines to the landfill and joined the 21st century.

“Even the homeless,” my friend added sternly.

My brother, who lives at 9,000-feet in a town the size of Durango High School, recently signed a two-year contract, scored a free “Alias” phone and a comp plane ticket to the paradise of his choice. The real reason for his tumble?

“I realized that if I wanted to hold onto a social life, I needed to plug in,” he said through his sparkly new Samsung. “Let me tell you. I wasn’t wrong.”

Another close personal acquaintance who shall remain unnamed (hint: her name rhymes with Chrissy Motel) also took the mobile plunge, saying something about “for emergencies” and “now that the kids are getting older.” The words rang as true as a Blackberry and got me closer to signing on than even the “homeless” comment.

Worst of all, the 7-year-old light of my life also rediscovered her faux pink Barbie cell phone in the bottom on the toy chest (right where Dad “stored” it two years ago). Courtesy of the pink and white noise maker, Barbie is once again haunting us at home and on road trips, periodically chiming in, “Let’s all meet down at the mall” and “We’re best friends forever.” In addition, the resurrection has Skyler asking questions like, “Dad, why are we the only family without a real phone?”

And now I have a deep, dark confession. The truth is that I do secretly want to join the revolution. I’d love to “tweet” about backcountry exploits before hopping in the driver’s seat and streaming Irish punk through my I-phone to my car radio. I’d love the luxury of setting up last-minute meeting places,

catching the precious moments on my cellcorder and dodging Mumbai telemarketers forevermore. I actually want to be part of the rush for Michael Jackson ringtones (wait a minute .. strike that one) and pick up the latest phone bra from CellularOutfitter.com. And on last Sunday’s bike ride – when my chain broke and rear tire exploded all in one fell pedal stroke – I desperately craved the ability to make that “emergency” phone call.

But there’s always a little something holding me in check.

Just last week, I watched as a young couple shared their dinner date by engaging in separate phone calls. Young love is truly blind (and apparently deaf). When the food arrived, the male of the species spooned his meal with one hand and twiddled his Blackberry with the other. His betrothed briefly stared into space before beginning a fidget-fest of her own.

Not long before that, I shared an airport lounge with a businessman and his dueling cell phones. In true six-gun fashion, he flashed one piece and dialed the wife. After a dozen jovial sentences and a sweet goodbye, he revolved to the second. He speed dialed before informing the girlfriend that he had an extra 90 minutes and could meet her at the usual rendezvous point.

And during a recent emergency rest stop, I reluctantly shared a bathroom stall with a pair of lizard skin boots. Bluetooth in ear, the man loudly negotiated a real estate transaction in between wipes. There with hundreds of thousands on the line, sheets of paper were unfurled and the squatting realtor drawled, “We’ll see y’all at closing,” and then flushed. Sorry, I’m still not ready to spend that kind of time with a mobile unit. For the immediate future, I want my telephone safely at a distance, where it can ring off the hook far from the nearest toilet paper dispenser. Besides, who else will repopulate the planet after the dreaded cell phone plague strikes?

“Just wait until your daughter hits her teens,” a friend chuckled as she shattered my Stone Age fantasy world. Nudging me in the ribs, she added, “You’ll be joining us sooner than you think.”

The words hit home like a first generation Casio Z Zone suitcase phone. There on the distant Verizon, my wireless future is already taking form. My first “real phone” may be closer than I’d ever imagined, and I owe it all to Barbie.

– Will Sands



In this week's issue...

January 25, 2024
Bagging it

State plastic bag ban is in full effect, but enforcement varies

January 26, 2024
Paper chase

The Sneer is back – and no we’re not talking about Billy Idol’s comeback tour.

January 11, 2024
High and dry

New state climate report projects continued warming, declining streamflows