Tag Archives: land lines

Happy Trails, Part 53

I’ve told you already about how adaptable I am, how it has surprised me over many years.

Never did I imagine moving from my home state of Oregon to Texas. But we did in 1984. I adapted to a new life.

Then we moved from the Golden Triangle — an area known for swamps, bugs, gators and stifling humidity — for the High Plains, which has virtually none of what I’ve just described. I adapted to that, too.

Now I am proud to declare my adaptability stretches to the cutting of the land line that tethered me for my entire life.

My wife and I made that decision just before we shoved off in our pickup and our fifth wheel RV for Oregon. We severed the land line. We rely these days exclusively on our cell phones. She has her number; I have mine.

When I get asked for a “contact number,” I now respond without thinking with my cell phone number.

I mention this only because we’re moving farther into this retirement phase of our life. The cell phones give us mobility. Yes, they only are symbols of our mobility, but that symbolism does translate to the real thing.

Being someone in my late 60s, I suppose I can be accused of being rather somewhat “stuck in my ways.” Time has taught me over the years that change is inevitable. I can react one of two ways: to embrace it or run from it.

I have chosen the former.

This cell phone reliance has demonstrated — I believe — that I am finally a 21st-century human being.

I have learned to adapt. Now I await the challenges of the next chapter of our life.

Bring it!

Get rid of the land line? Not just yet


My cousin has just announced she’s pulling the plug on her telephone land line.

She and her husband are going totally cellular.

Oh, my. My wife and I have struggled with the idea of getting rid of our land line. Neither of us is ready to make the leap.

Our sons are both land line-less. They enjoy the mobility. They are among millions of Americans who no longer use a phone book. Need a number? Go to some app in the cell phone and look it up.

I admire them for the courage it took for them to cut the cord … so to speak.

Me? I am a bit spooked by the commercials by our telephone and Internet provider about the unreliability of cell phones if you have to make an emergency medical or police call. You’ve seen ads like them, with the little kid calling 9-1-1 on a cell phone, but the connection is breaking up. The dispatcher can’t understand what the kid is saying. The voice-over tells you that land lines are more reliable. Don’t give ’em up.

OK. I’m a believer.

My wife and I will reach that point in our lives when a land line is no longer applicable. That’ll be when we hit the road in our fifth wheel for points as-yet unknown. We plan to spend extended periods on the lam.

For now, though, we’re tethered to the land line. I’m a bit of an old-fashioned guy, so I’ll keep the home phone until we no longer need it — at all!

Good luck to my cousin who’s made the leap of faith.


Tough to sever the land line

This conversation was overheard today at my part-time job.

Customer: Yes. I still have a home phone.

Cashier: Oh, really?

Customer: That’s right. My kids and grandkids don’t have a home phone, but I still have mine. I cannot get rid of it.

I related instantly with the lady and her seemingly mild embarrassment at “admitting” she actually still had a land line, a telephone that she plugged into the wall, a home telephone.

My wife and I have struggled for years with whether to cut our land line since cell phones became, well, such standard equipment for most folks.

We’ve decided to keep it.

Friends of mine have cut their land lines. Our sons operate exclusively with cell phones. They had no trouble cutting the line. They’re liberated 21st-century American males; one of them is married to an equally liberated modern female. Good for all of ’em.

For us, we’ll retain our land line for the foreseeable future.

Some of you might ask: Why?

The answer is complicated.

It’s kind of a life line of sorts. I keep hearing TV and radio commercials telling us cell phones make lousy communication devices for 9-1-1 emergency phone calls. Perhaps it’s because that message comes from a land line provider, yes? Still, I get the logic in persuading someone that a land line is a more efficient method of reporting a medical or law enforcement emergency.

Also, the land line and the phone book listing gives me a certain sense of belonging. That’s weird, I know. I am not entirely comfortable with people not knowing where to find us if they need to see us. I often hear friends say something like, “I’ve been thinking about you folks and wondering how you’re doing.” My answer? Well, we’re in the phone book; you still have a phone book, right? The older friends usually say “yes.” The younger ones? I know better than to ask, because I assume they don’t.

We don’t know when, or even if, we’ll surrender the land line.

The lady at work today spoke volumes to me — without ever knowing it — in that brief moment I eavesdropped on her conversation with the young cashier.

Yes, my wife and I do have cell phones. We use them regularly. I’m getting better — although not yet good — at using the various features on my hot-shot phone. Same with my wife.

But get rid of the land line? Not yet. Maybe not ever.


Why is the land line so hard to cut?

Someone needs to answer a question that is bugging me silly.

Why is it so hard to pull the plug on a telephone land line when I really and truly don’t need it?

My wife and I recently purchased two “smart phones,” you know, the kind that do almost everything for you. It’d probably sing us to sleep at night if we had the right “app.” We’re trying to learn how these gadgets work. We’re figuring them out a little at a time as we go through our lives. Our sons are fluent in cell phone speak. One of them, who works as a computer tech, promises to give us a complete tutorial next time we see him; that “next time” is coming up very soon.

I have programmed my phone number into the 2010 Toyota Prius we recently purchased and have gotten the hang of answering the thing when it rings while I’m at the wheel. It’s rather fun, actually, to talk and drive at the same time without fumbling with the damn device.

But this land line issue is driving me batty.

We’ve had the same phone number for the nearly 19 years we’ve lived in Amarillo. We acquired it when we moved into our one-bedroom apartment in early 1995. We built our house in late 1996 and transferred the number over to the new digs as we settled in — three days before Christmas. It’s published in the phone book. Anyone who wants to call us can look up the number in the book — if they still have one — and dial it on their phone, land line or cellular. We had the same phone number in Beaumont as well in the three dwellings we occupied during our 11 years on the Gulf Coast.

I hate admitting this, but I have developed some kind of emotional attachment to having the land line available. It’s inexplicable, yes? It’s also nonsensical. I get all that. However, I cannot yet pull the plug.

Is there something wrong with me?