The Cell Phone Conundrum

So I forgot to bring my cell phone with me to the office.

Absolute calamity, right?

At one time, this wouldn't have even been possible because cell phones weren't widespread. We've been watching a lot of movies lately, and one of the things I noticed was the presence of the cell phone, or lack thereof.

In one movie, "Definitely Maybe," the main character (Ryan Reynolds) is asked to join the Clinton campaign in 1992. One of the first things he receives is a large, box-shaped cell phone. The novelty? He can be reached anywhere at anytime. I remember seeing these early versions in the supermarket or on the street and wondering where you would carry something so bulky.

Last night, we watched a good part of "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington." If you don't know the movie, it's a 1939 Frank Capra classic. I'd never seen it before, so the wife decided to bring it home. It has the requisite classic actors, political storyline and patriotic themes that I tend to enjoy.

Anyway, at one point the main character (Jimmy Stewart) is sightseeing in D.C. For at least 5 hours, no one can find him. Eventually, he turns up at his office and his secretary places a frantic call to a colleague to confirm his arrival. One of the first thoughts that popped into my head was: "This could have been avoided completely if he had a cell phone." What can you do? It was 1939.

Granted, there's the problem of people not answering the phone no matter where they are. And there's also the problem of everyone having instant access to everyone else. Is this good or bad for developing social skills or maintaining friendships? Who knows.

But other than that, cell phones have some amazing benefits, and can be essential in cases of emergency or for keeping in touch with family and friends, and sometimes for getting access to information and the Internet. As a culture, we've become sort of dependent on the presence of cell phones in our lives.

Now, if I could only remember to bring mine along...

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