Cell phones. What can I say? Well, actually there is a lot I could say however I will, instead, focus on an area in life that cell phones seem to be impacting in different ways and to varying degrees. You know what I’m talking about, don’t you? Yes, I’m talking about relationships.
If the title “Relationship Cell-out” didn’t give it away then perhaps you personally have experienced the frustration that comes from having your conversation cut short because the person you’re talking to has to answer their cell phone. And have you noticed the number one excuse given to explain why the call must be taken is “it’s important”? Excuse me? What am I, chopped liver?
Let me just take a minute to say I absolutely believe cell phones serve a real purpose and have their place in daily life. Gene and I rely on the cell phones texting feature every day. Since I can no longer talk on the phone I simply text him back when he calls to see how my day is going or if I need anything. And the list of ways people use the cell phone in their personal or work lives is endless. The reasons we use cell phones is not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about when they’re answered.
Now, before I go any further I want to stress I’m not saying all incoming calls should be ignored. I know there are important calls that must be acknowledged promptly or an unexpected call comes in from an out-of-town friend most certainly should be answered. Come on, we all know the calls that need immediate attention and ones that can be put off till later … ahem, isn’t that why there is that neat feature called voicemail?
At least that was the argument I used on Gene when I found myself feeling a wee bit resentful after frequent interruptions to our time together so he could answer his cell phone. Yes, I will admit to feeling a little jealous of Gene’s cell phone. But I couldn’t help it, really. It was as though it was programmed to ring any time we were having a great heart-to-heart talk or simply chit-chatting while ‘chillaxing’ together. Of course, after the call the pleasant tone of our evening was sullied with my sour mood.
That is when the phrase “Relationship Cell Out” went through my mind. Was I just being selfish or silly? I mean, here I am, a 48 year old woman, well, okay, in this instance I’m probably acting more like a kid because I’m getting irritated that Gene’s cell phone is ringing … and it isn’t as though he has any control over someone calling him. Yet, neither of us could ignore the cell phones regular intrusions on our time together – and while he couldn’t control the incoming calls he could control when he answered those calls.
Though I have always been careful to avoid using my illness as some sort of “entitlement card” – as if having a disease gives me the right to place demands or expectations on Gene’s time – but we both realize it does have a bearing on the way we use our time together. And because of where I am in my fight to keep living with Lou Gehrig’s disease we know things can change quickly that will put an end to my fight. That realization has helped us see it is the time we spend together along with the importance we place on that time … and each other … that is valuable.
When you think about it, the quality of our relationships is a reflection of the time and importance we place on them. So when a ringtone suddenly invades that time and then hearing the reason it must be answered is that “it’s important”, well, that touches off those strange emotionally charged feelings of resentment, jealousy, competition and/or frustration. I no longer think it is a silly notion to feel something like a cell phone can have a negative affect on relationships. Anything that can undermine the sense of value we feel in a relationship or at least make us feel it is being threatened, well, that isn’t silly.
So I am happy to say I have made peace with Gene’s cell phone, dents and all. Oh, you’re wondering about the dents? Well, cell phones are for talking … the shape is totally unsuited for throwing out windows. Heyyy, I’m just t-e-a-s-i-n-g, I would never do that … but I must admit to times of wishing I could. But seriously, the cell phone is no longer allowed to be intrusive or a time controller in our life. Yes, it may seem like such a little thing but for us it happens to be the so-called little things that mean so much.
I don’t get out of the house that often anymore so when I do go somewhere, well, that’s a big deal to me. Whether it’s going to a store, an appointment or simply to go for a little drive we do everything we can to make the most of it. For me, the way illness has impacted my life, the main way I can demonstrate the value I place on my relationships is through the time I spend with those in my life – it is how I can show their importance to me. That is why time is special to me – however, because of the time constraints crowding relationships in this hustle bustle world, I would think time is special for everyone.
It shouldn’t take illness, tragedy or any other sort of life altering situation to make us stop and re-evaluate our lives and rediscover what is truly important to us … and yet it usually does. Unless, of course, we read a blog where some know-it-all lady talks about all the things she has learned since illness turned her life upside down and hopes any who read her blog can find something helpful or beneficial to their own lives, whatever their situation or circumstances.
Whatever your life circumstances why not set aside a little time to spend with a good friend or special someone and muzzle your cell phone …. and see if you notice any changes in you, your attitude, your relationships …. if not, well, hmm, perhaps your someone who should just stick with your cell phone.
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