While, thankfully, i'm no 40-year -old-virgin, I am a 35-year-old cellphone virgin.
Yes, that's right. I am sans cell. I've never owned a cellphone, nor am I eager to join the ranks of the mobile. I suspect I fit the profile of a typical cellphone user fairly educated, decent job and I might even border on sophisticated. But for some reason, owning a cellphone has never interested me.
However, with the proliferation of ads for phones with televisions, phones with cameras, phones that play music, and phones that now attach to sunglasses, I think it's inevitable I may soon have to cut the cord.
Why haven't I joined the cellular age? The convenience of calling on the fly was never worth the cost of a cellphone plan. (Translation: I'm cheap.)
And I get a strange satisfaction from not being reachable. I like the idea of people having no idea where I am or what I'm doing. It's my own geekish way of being a rebel and claiming time for myself.
Ironically, because I haven't had a cellphone for so long, others sometimes assume that I've tossed my cellphone into Lake Ontario, symbolically reclaiming my independence.
If you think I need help, don't waste your time. You will just get frustrated. If you hand me a cellphone to make a call, I'm lost. Often, I can't even turn it on. And of the calls made on a friend's phone, few have gone through, because I failed to hit the "send" button. I think I've honestly made fewer than a dozen cellphone calls in my life.
I have to confess that it's getting downright embarrassing to search for quarters, and unbelievably difficult to find a pay phone that's not broken or covered in cigarette burns. I used to swallow my pride as I stood next to preteens calling Mom for a ride home. (I say "used to" because they all now have cellphones.)
Today, every kind of pay phone has become an endangered species. In years past, the announcement for last call seemed like the perfect opportunity to stagger downstairs and use the pay phone to call ex-girlfriends, who I knew would be delighted to hear from me. That's no longer an option in most establishments.
My lack of a cellphone isn't helping my single status. Asking a date for a quarter to confirm our reservation would not be a sign that I'm responsible about money.
Fortunately, most of the time when I have to use a pay phone I'm on my own and either running late or lost trying to find a pub or restaurant. Friends and family roll their eyes as my signature number flashes across their cellphone screen: "Pay phone."
When I do finally buy one, my first few weeks as a cellphone user will be rocky. When the phone rings in my pocket, I'll either have a heart attack or wonder what that ringing noise is. And I'll have to sew it into my jacket to avoid leaving it on the subway or in a cab.
However, the perks are beginning to appeal to me. Setting aside the obvious ability to make calls anywhere, I will finally be able to join the ranks of those who constantly play with their phones. I'm convinced most of them are just trying to look important by checking messages or looking at their lists of numbers.
If I buy a headset, it will become perfectly acceptable for me to join the growing numbers who walk down a crowded street having conversations with no else around.
So wish me luck.
Soon I'll reach out and touch someone outside the safe and familiar confines of a glass booth.