DOUGLAS: Making the call on a cell phone


I was one of the last in my circle of friends to get a cell phone.

I remember getting ribbed about it often, and my answer was always, “I do not need a cell phone. If I need to make a phone call, everyone around me has a cell phone and I just say, ‘Can I borrow your phone?’”

The decision was not driven by frugality, but rather I did not want others to have an ability to contact me at any time – even when I was editor of this newspaper. But that was when a cell phone was a flip phone, absent the magical ability to do about anything, from taking photos, to enabling me to communicate with anyone from anywhere at any time, to coughing up the answer to any question that arises in a conversation. Often, I get the answer to the question surreptitiously to appear more informed and worldly than I am.

I sure wish that I had had a cell phone hidden in my possession back when I was taking those college exams in the, this is hard to say, 70s.

Now, not only do I have a cell phone, I find myself staring at it way too often throughout the day. If I lose it, or for some reason it is disabled, I feel naked. It is the inner teenager in me.

Last week, I realized how vulnerable I had become through my Droid dependence. I was driving to Chapel Hill to tee it up at 10:20 a.m. at Finley Golf Course with two old fraternity brothers and my brother-in-law, being directed by the Maps lady to turn here and there to pick up one of those buddies at his home on Pinehurst No. 6.

Then the lady inside my Droid went silent. Although I had left my house with the cell phone fully charged, it had been completely drained in 48 miles, and not only did I not know how to get to my buddy’s house, I did not have his phone number to call. I pulled to the side of the road, and panic quickly set in as I realized not only the challenge, but that we were teeing it up in two hours.

I cussed myself for not having “hard copies” of the phone number and address, and then began charging the cell phone, not optimistic. After several minutes, I mustered a 3 percent charge, enabling me to call my buddy so we could meet at a designated location. That accomplished, I picked him up, made the tee time, had a grand time, posting a 3-under-par 69 my first time teeing it up as a senior.

If I could putt, I would have shot my age. Never has a cart lady who had supplied me with Bud Lights right on time, several times, been better positioned for a big tip. Let us just say I was happy as was she.

The rest of the week has been less jubilant as my cell phone has continued to menace me, often losing charge even as it is charging. The phone is 4 years old, so it might be time for a new one, but I know the chargers themselves are often the problem.

I have been told by a friend I should make the move to an iPhone, and my reluctance is not the cost of a new phone, but the hassle of getting one and this old dog having to learn new tricks.

Right now, I have four electronic tickets to the Notre Dame-UNC football game tucked inside my Droid, but no hard copies.

I know what you are thinking: Disaster lurks. Think again. All my buddies have electronic copies of the tickets.

I am taking no chances this time.

Reach Donnie Douglas by email at [email protected]



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