This site is about my life growing up and growing older in Mathews County, a rural, water-bound community on the way to nowhere in particular.
Monday, January 5, 2009
This is a glimpse of the bay from a house on Gwynn's Island. It's an adorable place on a perfect spot of land. Although they could be electrical, those wires going from the pole to the house are going to be telephone wires for the purposes of this post, because telephones are what I'm talking about today, so if they're electrical just use your imagination and play along with me.
I used to joke with my non-Mathews friends that we still had to climb up the telephone pole to make calls much like they did on Petticoat Junction or Green Acres or whatever show it was that they did that. It wasn't that long ago that we had party lines, and your closest 10 neighbors could hear your every conversation without fear of being identified.
We do now have modern phones, but not everyone is so quick to go modern.
My parents still own a wall-mounted rotary phone and have never had nor utilized an answering machine. Ever. They think caller ID is something only the FBI uses, and in spite of being given new phones with advanced capabilities, they refuse to utilize those features. They don’t even have the internet, and for that reason alone I have to shake my head.
My father has had a cell phone for some time, but recently my mother got one – from Chesapeake Bay Middle Sister. When I heard this was happening, I said, “What good does it do for her to have a cell phone if she doesn’t take it with her or turn it on?”
Anyway, below is an excerpt from something my mother wrote about her new cell phone.
Teeny Tiny Telephone (Excerpts)
By Chesapeake Bay Mother
“I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I really prefer a phone that at least comes somewhere near my mouth, where the talking happens, and my ear, where the hearing happens. My little phone mocks me for being anchored in the past, as I curse it for being a troublesome, redundant, superfluous icon of an idiot society of gadget-obsessed super-consumers* eternally on the line and never in the moment. (How many times have you seen people walking around in public treating their private conversations as if they had mass appeal? Is it true communication or performance art? The worst performance is behind the wheel, when these popcorn brains are seen laughing, talking and behaving as if their automobiles and yours were magic carpets.)
But I do have hope that my phone and I have a future together. Husband has a great relationship with his--an almost clandestine intimacy. In fact, he shared a cocktail with his the other evening. I guess they were both enjoying a Redskins game when Husband made a move which dislodged his companion from his breast pocket, plummeting it into his tumbler of Jim Beam, his other companion. **
Well, evidently those two companions were not compatible because the cell phone required time to “dry out” and has a recurrent problem with the number “4” as in the 4 horsemen of the apocalypse. All is well that mercifully ends, and Husband’s cell phone has recuperated and now knows its limit.
Chesapeake Bay Woman’s Comments
* Have mercy, that is one long sentence, and right here it isn’t even over yet.
** My father and his friend Jim have wreaked havoc on a number of gadgets. One time my parents and I were out in the boat, and I was pulling up to their dock to drop them off. Daddy and his friend Jim had been having a good ole time. Just as we got up to the dock, instead of stepping off the boat onto the dock, he jumped overboard. Face first. And then walked to shore (it was low tide and the water was only about waist-high). Come to find out his eyeglasses were in his pocket, but due to his belly flop they're now resting comfortably at the bottom of Queens Creek.
Posted by Chesapeake Bay Woman at 12:01 AM
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I have a cell phone that I don't use either.
We only bought it for any trips out of town incase of emergencies.
I do not consider calling home to find out if we need bread an emergency.
You just must be a published author writing this blog under an assumed persona. If not, why the heck haven't you written a book??? Your way with words is simply wonderful. Find a way, friend, and you will easily write a best-seller.
I love reading your mother's posts....as well as yours. She has a way with words.
Five years ago I got rid of my land line phone, which made my cell my "home phone". It was a hard transition, but I'm glad I did it. I'm not a phone person, so it hasn't become an addiction like with some people.
i have a cell phone - am i a popcorn head? ha ha Do those rotary phones still work then? love the stories of your dads friend Jim and the cell phone party; I agree with Tsannie - write a book of all these stories :-) but keep blogging too..
oops...that sounds like a couple of my experiences...
one with a cell phone (my first cell phone)...a sad end to it actually.
I was visiting a friend up the coast, and had just let my dog into her yard , and was then taking friend out somewhere...so threw my handbag over the back seat...mm...
after a little while I thought I heard funny gurgly noises....and discovered that I had thrown my hand bag in the dog's large water bucket I kept wedged in between front and back seats (so it wouldn't fall over)...
gurgly noises were cell phone trying to ring under water!
ps I hired some toys from the toy library this christmas for the little kids to play with, and they included a water wheel. They had great fun with it, in the paddle pool, and bath. But then the little boy 2 yr old twin decided he would throw the musical toy in the water too!
His Daddy was SO delighted to have to pull toy apart (have we got the right philips head screwdrivers ..no)...and dry it all out. Fortunately it DID work when put back together! mm..that was lucky!
Oh Lord is this funny. I hear that a wet cellphone can be put in an airtight container full of dry rice, and it will be as good as new. I have sometimes consorted with Jim's brother Jack. So I know how much fun they can be, and how much time you might want to spend with them. They are a fun family.
My sister bought me a cell phone, I used it until the minutes ran out. I am like your mom it was too small and did not extend from ear to mouth.
I want a wall mounted rotary phone. I dislike talking on the phone. I'm on it all day for work and I very much dislike that people expect you to be available 24/7. I leave my phone where I can't hear it sometimes. I also HATE people talking on the phone in public places.
I miss those party lines. It was so fun to listen. Not that I ever did that. Nope not me, I was just picking up to see if I could use the phone. I remember when we got our own line. And seriously, I'm not old.
I love this blog... the friend of mine who took you to my cottage (the one in your picture!) told me about this and I have thoroughly enjoyed it. Feel free to go there anytime you need to take pics of an old weathered building =).
Your mom is too funny!
As for dad, doesn't he know there are starving kids in China? He needs to be a member of the clean glass club and drink up!
I used to LOVE to go to my Grandma's and listen in on the Party Line. The next door (1/2 mile away) neighbor, Clara, was always up to something....and we always knew what it was!!! Bwahahaha! You had to be VERY careful, or the person on the phone would hear the little "click" when you picked up the receiver;/
See. I TOLD you Saturday that you need to get started on that book. I'm not the only one who thinks so:)
I seem to recall a trip to Mathews for Market Days when your dad and Jim (aka UVA football game in a cup) and I danced to a band down the Courthouse ... it is admittedly a vague recollection. HNY!!
PS I like your Dad's friend Jim better than CB Middle Sis's friend Evan Williams (pronounced E-Van, of course)
So. So. SO funny : ). My Mom has been on my plan for about 2 years. So, for 2 years I have been paying $19.99 for her phone. Guess how many calls she has made? 10 at the most. In the entire two years. It kind of makes me sick.
Your parents sound like a hoot. Your Mom has a way with words...I see where you get it from!
My Mom only turns on her cell phone when she wants to MAKE a call. It makes me nuts.
I loved Green acres. Climbing up a telephone pole to make a call sounds about like me trying to use my cell phone INSIDE my house......I have to run around to find reception. :)
BN - Very good point, I agree absolutely. Can you imagine, though, that kids today have never lived in a time when there weren't cell phones? That's mind boggling to me.
TSA - It's my mother who should be the author, not me. Just ask her about the essay portion of my college applications....only joking. Sort of.
GJ - I agree about ditching the land line. The only reason I have not is because (drum roll, please) I still have dial up internet! Why do I tease my mother about her rotary phone when I'm using the rotary phone of internet access?
Val - You're not a popcorn brain at all, in fact we should be taking lessons from you regarding writing....don't listen to her. If she had been born a generation earlier she'd understand.
Annie - the imagined sound of the gurgling noises made by the submerged phone is hilarious.
MPM - I'll pass on that tidbit about the rice. No doubt we'll be needing it again. Jack and Jim are both very pesky friends...I avoid them at all costs and haven't spoken to either one of them since college many moons ago when it was a requirement for football games and horse races.
Mrs. Cloud - My mother would love to know that you understand her perspective. There is something weird about the whole mouthpiece/earphone thing, I do agree.
Phyl - You're right, it wasn't that long ago. I hate the barging in that cell phones provide too...it's almost like instant messaging at work. Just send an e-mail and let me get to you when I can. Texting is the worst! (Even though I do it.)Such a "put down what you're doing and immediately respond to me" sort of feeling.
BREEZEWAY - THANK YOU SOOOOO MUCH for letting me go onto your property. I fell in love with your spot and think I could live there for the rest of my life very, very happily. I'm sure I'll be going back if that's OK. I took a million pictures, including some of the lane leading in, and I'll spread them out over the course of the next several weeks. You are so fortunate to be able to call that yours, it's really, really gorgeous.
Anonymous - I'll relay this to him next time I talk to him. His response is liable to be "boom bam bippy" (one of his favorite sayings).
BHE - I might have listened in--by accident--a time or two myself. I know about that click...remember it well.
Icey - that market days dance is permanently etched in my brain, good one. (Remember falling into the ditch at the Ruritan Club when the Beast from the East was playing? A story for another time perhaps...)
LWK/Rebeckah - Your mom sounds much like mine - I've never seen her use it, ever. She keeps it outside of hearing range, at least outside of her hearing range, and it's never in her pocketbook for emergencies....
Thanks for visiting, everyone. Hope your Monday went well and the rest of your week is even better.
BBSuz - Sorry I got your comment after I responded to everyone else's. I am very familiar with that run around dance for reception...it's spotty at best here near the water. Green Acres was hilarious, and of course my favorite character was the pig.
I'm confused. Why are you hanging out with my in-laws in Central PA? Because their relationship with telephony is very similar to that of your parents. They have push button phones, but rotary service (as opposed to tone) so you hear the same sound as you do when you literally dial a number.
They talk louder on their cell phone depending on how far away they are from you when they call you. But they also talk fast because it's a prepaid phone and you gotta conserve those minutes.
They do have dial-up internet, but again with the rotary-dial noise coming through the modem.
Arnold Ziffel was a cool pig. You can dry out electronic stuff by putting it in the oven at a very low temperature for several hours. This got a cell phone working for a friend of mine, who had jumped in a pool with his.
A few years ago, we went with some friends to stay with their family in Florida. We took a canoe trip down a river that had quite a few gators sunning on the banks. Well, our canoe flipped, I (who cannot swim) fell out and had to hold onto some branches until another canoe came by to get me. I was more afraid of the water than the gators!
My cell phone took three days to dry out, but it still worked after that.
My friends now call me "the other white meat"
Meg - That is too, too funny about the rotary service.
Bayman - I couldn't remember Arnold's name, thank you. Also, I will be sure to pass on the tip about the oven...you never know when a cell phone is going to go swimming around here.
ND - I would never have guessed you can't swim--that must have been a terrifying experience, although since you're OK and all, I must say that is one hilarious story.
CBM would probably have a heart attack if she knew how many text messages a month my eldest daughter sends. It's in the neighbourhood of 15K. Yep. Thank goodness for unlimited messaging plans. I'm shocked that she still knows how to hold an actual verbally articulated conversation. My thumbs hurt just thinking about all that texting.
CBW....there is a book, or at least a screen play in your future. There has to be!
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