I remember the day I got my very first cell phone. That was back in 1999. I held this bulky, flip-flop machine in the my hand for the longest time coming out of the store. I just couldn't take my eyes off it. My chest was a few inches higher with pride from owning this fancy gadget. It didn't matter that I just paid a hundred dollars for it and then signed away my life for another two years with a $50 per month contract. Nothing mattered at that point except that I actually owned a cell phone that everyone was going so gaga about. I was the first female to own a cell phone in my family. And I couldn't wait to show it to my sister. I celebrated the occasion taking my son for a pizza and boasting all the way through the meal about it.
Back then my phone had limited features. Just basic stuff like calling, call forwarding, voice message and call holding. I had a 250-minute limit and anything over that cost me. Text messages were a luxury I couldn't afford because I had to pay extra per message. Incoming calls cost me extra money too. Two years later when I upgraded the phone I paid another hundred dollars over the discounted price for a better phone with extra features that included limited text messaging, fancy colors and keys, and ring tones to download that went way over my budget. I could listen to music and I got the ear plugs for that for an extra few dollars. As usual I was excited and showed it off to everyone. The problem with me is that I am a gadget junkie. I thrive on owning and playing with these gadgets.
After 20-some years, I am still a gadget junkie. Technology has gone so far as to include so many features that even I couldn't keep up with them all. Eventually between my family and me, we figured out a way to save money while having the phones we wanted. We started signing up for family plans which at first began with 4,000 minutes for the entire family and now we have unlimited minutes except for internet use.
Recently, I went back to the store for a new upgrade for my phone. And boy, was I in for a surprise! You see, two years ago my phone was given to me as a surprise birthday gift by my kids so I really didn't choose it. Over the years I guess I kind of resigned myself to the idea of paying extravagant amounts of money to these companies, and I resorted to a simpler phone. But my kids had a different idea. This phone had a two gigabyte memory card, pictures I could upload from my computer, touch screen, unlimited text messaging, fancy pink case, radio, video, 5 mega pixel digital camera, etc., etc. I was head over heels with the gift and couldn't thank my kids enough. So, this time when I went back to the store I was appalled with the technology.
Not only is the phone that my son bought for me top of the line-- at least according to him--but it's also something that I couldn't keep up with. It has over a hundred applications already in there. And the carrier boasts over 70,000 more different applications that I could download from internet. I am totally lost in this new technology. Even a techie like me has got some limits right? I got an eReader, 3G technology for a monthly fee, touch screen, voice calling, video calling, five megapixel camera, video chatting, etc., etc. The more I probed things the more I got confused with using the phone. Every time I touched it I feared I would go over my data plan. I cannot read the small letters on the phone for my eBooks and downloading eBooks costs me more money. The biggest challenge is to keep the phone from discharging only after a couple of hours since it is running so many applications from behind.
Unfortunately, the more this country's economy goes down, the more its living costs and commodities are going up. I am finding it hard to find a cell phone that does basic operations with less cost and confusion, because almost all the phones my carrier has require 3G or 4G data plans whether I like it or not. And my question is what happens to all those people who are unemployed, have low incomes, or are in another type of financial crisis when they have to upgrade their phones? What about those people who are not technologically inclined that have the most difficult time to just figure out basic operations on this little gadget? Most of the older generation people or even my generation people are not tech savvy. In fact, some hate the idea of dealing with computers, let alone a fancy gadget in their hands. And do they really need that? The more applications, the higher costs, the greater anxiety, and the unwanted and unnecessary stress. If I am having difficulty in dealing with the technologies, shouldn't the cell phone companies consider the apprehensions of people who cannot even get closer to comprehending basic operations on a cell phones? Shouldn't they be thinking about the country's economy? And what about all those road accidents being caused with distraction from these devices? Not everyone thinks about safety. Or is it just me getting senile with age? Is there anyone like me out there? Does, OUR LIFE MATTER?
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