Brick Laying

Back when the first mobile phones became available in the early- to mid-1980s, Bill was on board. Back then we called them cellular phones. Bill has always been interested in technology. He had one of those telephones that we now affectionally call “bricks” because it was quite literally the size and shape of a brick. And man alive, was he ever the coolest dude at the State Capitol where he worked as a lobbyist.

The phone was so big that you obviously couldn’t easily carry it around. So Bill (and probably anyone who had purchased one of those new-fangled devices) carried it around in his briefcase. After all, no one was going to call him. The phone was primarily to call others. I guess he probably had a phone number, but the idea of being able to reach a person no matter where they were was beyond our limited imagination. But when he needed to make a call, he opened up the brief case, reached inside to pull out the enormous but magically wireless phone, and made his call. Usually just to the bartender at the pub where he went for his after-work beer so that he could cause a stir. “Hey, could you bring me a beer? I’m sitting in the back booth.”

The rest is history, of course. Now it is the rare person – usually a baby boomer holding fast to the need for a land line – who has a telephone that is somehow connected to the wall. And since the 80s, cell phones began to get smaller and smaller, until you had the flip phones which were literally a couple of inches long when they were folded in half.

Once phones became “smart” the size began to change again. And now the size of phones has varied from very small to very large to very small again. Now they again seem to be quite large. I think they are too large for comfort, but no one asked me. Hey Apple, when you start considering the details of the iPhone XIII (because I’m sure they already have the launch plans ready for the XI and the XII), give me a ringy dingy.

For his birthday, I got Bill a new cell phone. He has used his old cell phone to the point where it was practically useless because it wouldn’t hold a charge. He would turn it on in the morning, check his email, and the battery would be down to 24 percent. So he simply didn’t use it. I would try to reach him when I was away from home, and he never EVER answered the phone because he was downstairs and the phone was plugged in upstairs in our bedroom. I would get annoyed (who me?) but would remind myself that it wasn’t all that many years ago that we would call someone’s land line and the phone would ring and ring and ring because they weren’t at home. Imagine that.

Anyway, I told him to pick out a new phone. Being Bill, he did considerable research and ended up choosing an LG V30. Great camera and holds a charge, he said. Boom. Done.

He likes the phone a great deal, but the thing is, it’s big. He tried carrying it in his shirt pocket, but it kept falling out because see above. It’s big. He would lay it down on his desk and then walk away and not hear the phone ring and was no better off than before.

The other day, he sheepishly said to me, “Kris, I think I’m going to buy a phone holder that attaches to my belt.”

He went on (and here, at long last, is the point of my blog), “I know it’s goofy these days to wear your phone on your belt, but it seems like the best answer for me.”

“Then that’s what you should do, and Millennials be DAMNED,” I answered firmly. Because you know how I feel about letting people whose diapers we changed tell us what looks goofy and what doesn’t look goofy.

I began trying to recall what our children – at least our boy children – do with their cell phones. I concluded that they simply carry them around in their hands. Because they are texting most of the time. And when they come into our house, they lay them down on the counter next to the coffee pot when they’re not texting. Every minute-and-a-half, they walk over to check and see if they got another text.

So Bill, I will continue to wear my capri pants and you can attach your phone holder to your belt and when we hear snickering from the snotty 30-somethings walking behind us, we will remind them that it was our generation who invented cell technology so if we want to hook a phone holder to our belts, that’s what we’ll do.

And, by the way, tuck your shirt in and you need a shave.