It is pouring rain in Lanark County, and as I pull out of the gas station I spy a teenager walking in the drenching rain sheltering his cellphone as he texts.
Why, I ask myself?
Since my sons gave me my iPhone on Mother’s Day a few years ago I have treated the phone like the black sheep of any family. I try and ignore it, but it will not let me, and I feel like I am never alone. Granted it was my choice to get rid of the landline and finally move into the 21st century like everyone else.
Texting was easy as I already had several weeks of repetitive training/cajoling on my iPad– but my brain no longer wants to attempt any mental feats of strength that are not needed. Instead of texting back, most times I answer the text on my laptop with an email. Friends told me I will get used to it and end up loving it, so am I secretly sabotaging myself? I didn’t set up voice mail for months because others told me they had an issue retrieving messages, so I used that as an excuse.
This morning I watched my oldest son use both his thumbs to text as I have seen many times. I marvel at the precision and speed he uses and think of my texts this week with misspelled words that even spellcheck could not pick up. I remember the 4 year-old-girl on the Apple commercials and how she whizzed through feats of technology without help and how I wish I could be smarter.
I have in my hands a fabulous piece of communication that I sometimes shun like the Amish. It attempts to entice me daily to use it like a prosthetic for the rest of my life. I refuse to let it become the bearer of my vital signs and continued activity in my brain. Is there a middle ground? Has cellphone dependency resulted in compulsive communicating? Or will I eventually turn into a Ninja when someone touches my phone?
Within the lifetimes of our present elder citizens, telephones first came into public use in Carleton Place and nearby Ontario communities in 1885.
Alexander Graham Bell’s invention of the telephone in this province in 1874 at Brantford was followed by convincing proofs of its commercial usefulness within two years in Ontario and Massachusetts. In Lanark County, only one year later, “one of Prof. Bell’s telephones” appeared in 1877. It was obtained by Mr. F. A. Kennedy, Perth dentist. With the sensational new devise he talked between his office and his house in Perth.
At Ottawa the possibilities of the telephone were demonstrated by electrical pioneer Thomas Ahearn (1855-1938) in a talk in 18778 over telegraph wires with the Montreal Telegraph Company’s agent at Pembroke. The Bell Telephone Company of Canada, of which Mr. Ahearn was a director until his death, was formed in 1880.–Howard Morton Brown