Saturday, August 16, 2008

No Phone, No Service

Monday I was driving from home to Louisville and I had an early afternoon phone date with a radio station in Florida. I missed the call.

With as much traveling and networking as I do, it’s inevitable that some of the phone dates that I make will fall on travel days. By and large, I’ve been successful pulling over when the time draws near, finding a pay phone, and making the call. Monday, that strategy failed: I couldn’t find a pay phone.

Ironically, the place where I’d pulled off I-64 to search for a phone was New Harmony, IN—site of Robert Owens’ 19th Century Utopian experiment. There was something oddly humorous about not being able to represent the North American Intentional Communities Movement while traveling through one of the oldest communal settlements in the US. Oh well.

There are a couple things going on here. For one, I don’t own a cell phone. If I did, of course, I wouldn’t have been looking for a pay phone. While there have undoubtedly been times when a cell phone would have come in handy (such as Monday), mostly I’m happy not being that available. And there haven’t been enough times that I’ve wished for one that I’ve felt justified eating $400/year in creased outreach expenses.

For two, a consequence of so many people owning cell phones these days has been a marked decrease in the demand for pay phones, and many have been removed from service. Today, they’re significantly harder to find. In New Harmony I tried five places and I might as well have been visiting the town in Robert Owen’s day for all the luck I had.

So Monday was the day that the technology failed me—in a place historically known for its innovation. They say irony is wasted on some folks. But not me.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I delight in your ability to be so mobile without a cell phone, but I'll note that annual costs for a pre-paid phone ought to be more like $40,