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I've been gone for a while - out of the country. And I don't get my email from work very often anyway because, as a consultant, I'm not often in my office, and the current project site only has one dial-up line to access outside networks, and quite frankly, I hate Lotus Notes and so maybe this is my passive way of rebelling against having to use this horrible new email system that my new company oh so graciously bestowed on us during the merger.
So when I swung by the office on the way home tonight to get my email there was quite a bit of it. Nearly two weeks worth of messages, most of which I promptly deleted after merely reading the header, since they fell into the 'doesn't apply to me' rule. Then I saw a message that filled me with dread.
It was a cheerful message. In bright red letters, it announced that all of us consultants are just soooo lucky because (insert cries of happy joy and astonishment here), we're getting cellular phones. We're all to call the number listed, and sign up for cellular phones, and turn in our pagers.
Perhaps I am an oddity (I'm sure there are some people who would say there's no 'perhaps' about it), but I don't want a cellular phone. I don't like them. I can't stand them. They are annoying, irritating devices that somehow seem to convince the average rational human being that they are slightly more important than the rest of us and therefore more entitled to be rude. The idiotic things go off during movies. They go off at dinner. They go off during meetings. People talk far too loud on them. I'm not sure I've yet heard anyone talking on a cellular phone who doesn't end up shouting. And you don't want to get me started on the subject of people using them in the car. It could get really ugly. Trust me.
I know that there are those of you out there who just love your little phones and can't imagine life without them. And I'm sure that you're reading this, shaking your head with dismay at how I can actually not like them. You're also all saying under your breath "but I'm a good phone user. I never annoy people. I always turn my phone on vibrate when I'm at the movies. I don't let it rule my life. I know how where the 'off' button is. And besides, it's only for emergencies."
Uh huh. Okay. Yeah. I believe you. Really. Not. Whether you want to admit it or not, you're tied to the things. You can't escape it. Oh sure, it's convenient, but deep, deep down, don't you really wish some times that people really weren't able to contact you *anywhere*?
This is not the first time I've dug in my heels and tried to avoid enforced telecommunication improvements. I didn't want the pager either. I successfully avoided that for over a year, til my company at the time was purchased by another one, and then presto, the pager arrived and I had to carry the darn thing because they all knew how to get ahold of me. I'll admit that I actually have grown to like the darn thing. It's a handy way for people to get ahold of me. Friends and family can send me little text messages letting me know they're on their way, or that I should call them, or asking what time we're meeting. Coworkers can get ahold of me when we're working on projects over the weekend.
So you might think that, by virtue of the fact that I have grown to tolerate, and yes, even *like* the pager, that I might do the same for a cellular phone. However. There is one big difference between the two. With a pager, I know someone is trying to contact me. But it is still up to my discretion when and how I return that page. If I'm nowhere near a phone, well they're basically stuck. I have the perfect excuse for taking extra time to return a call. With a phone I have no excuse. And I have a sneaky feeling I'll only be able to use the 'I had the phone turned off' excuse for so many times before people start glaring at me.
Besides, I think I see a trend forming here. With each merger/acquisition my company goes through, the tracking methods get worse. I shudder to think of what might happen if this current incarnation of my company is ever acquired by a larger fish. I can see it now - all of us consultants trapped and radio-tagged. If they want us, they just transmit a mild electric shock. In a meeting, if you ever see the consultants flinch, or suffer from some odd muscle twitch, well, just assume they've been contacted by the home office.
I sent an email back to the business office asking if this cellular phone thing is a requirement or a choice. I have a sinking suspicion that it falls into the requirement category. I'm sure they'll get a good laugh at my email. "Hey George, check this out. This woman doesn't *want* one. Can you believe it? She actually said she'd rather hang by her toes than carry one. Whatta ya know."
It's progress. Gotta love it. Right?