Trina Machacek: Going landline-less
February 11, 2019
I am seriously thinking of dropping my landline. Becoming a cellphone-only household. Becoming a member of the new world order. The term "new world order" has been used to refer to any new period of history evidencing a dramatic change in world political thought and the balance of power. At least, that's what Wikipedia says it is. I think the new world order, in reference to the phone world, might have started when someone in some government office got a wild hair and decided to start chopping up AT&T and now trying to read a phone bill is tantamount to trying to read the ancient Dead Sea Scrolls! But I do go on a bit…
Back to me and my landline decision. This will be quite a big step for me. Since 1948 and up until 2013, someone in my family — dad, brother, sister and me — had always worked for the phone company. That's a lot of phone wire strung up along the way! It wouldn't be too much of a stretch to say that our family had Nevada Bell blue blood coursing through our veins. But, ah, can you hear a "but" ringing off the hook? But is that a good enough reason to keep a landline when 95 percent of the calls that come in are from some robot? Apparently not.
To my surprise, since I seem to live in my very own little bubble, I've found there are homes and whole families who have never had a landline. Homes built today don't even have phone jacks built into their frameworks. I feel like at some point I will be sitting on a porch somewhere and I will look at the person next to me and I will say something like, "Well the next thing ya know, Mert (I would call my rocking chair friend "Mert" — hey, it's my porch reminiscence) … Mert, pretty soon, television will have more than three channels!" Well, maybe not that far back. When I think of unhooking my landline, I do tend to get a little nostalgic.
In taking this huge step, I've given the old pro/con list a good going over. Money is, of course, the first concern. If I drop my ole trusted friend, I would save money. Where I live, I not only pay a monthly charge I am also in an area where I am charged so much a mile from the phone central office in Eureka to where I live. A very nice, quiet 10 miles. Then, there are, of course, the taxes, fees, long-distance charges, charges for operator assistance, directory assistance (do you remember that?) and, probably, if I could just decipher the bill I might be getting charged because I have a yellow raincoat hanging in my closet. Yes, I'm pretty sure there are charges within my bill that are just as silly as that sounds.
Cons of losing the landline are the fact that if the world were to begin to dissolve and all the cell towers melted, how would I make a call? Oh, wait. If all the cell towers came tumbling down there would be nobody to call, so this one is a wash.
The pro/con list, like in any decision-making process confuses me. I can make as many pros as cons. Oh, there is such another column about pro/con lists bubbling in my brain right now… I have to stay the course, make a decision. As I sit here, I am looking at the ole gal, hanging on the wall in the kitchen. She looks like an old friend, winking at me with her red light, announcing there are messages I need to listen to. How can I cut her off? How will I feel if I never again hear that mechanical voice announce that someone from an area code I've never heard of is calling me?
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Can I really see myself going without having an extension in the back bedroom, in the shop, in the garage, in the — bathroom! That last one was weird for a long time. But now it is not unusual to be in a public restroom and hear someone in the next stall talking about what's for dinner. Yuck! Times, they are a-changin'.
After all the calling and information gathering as to cutting the cord and upgrading my old flip phone to a new-fangled Smart 2 Android phone, whatever that is, I have made a decision.
I'm going to give it one more month. Going to ask around and see what other landline-lubbers are considering. Listen to their pro/con lists. Maybe even you might want to ring on in.
Trina lives in Eureka, Nev. Share with her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Really!