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PUT AWAY YOUR TOYS: Sunday brought perfect weather for hot-air ballooning over the Old Mendon Highway -- but when it's over, you still have to pack up. / Photo by Nancy Williams

Today's word on journalism

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

"Paranoia means having all the facts."

--William S. Burroughs, Beat Generation writer (1914-1997)

Moi, addicted to texting? No! (Is that my phone?)

By Andrea Edmunds

September 22, 2006 | I'm not addicted to my cell phone.

OK, I may be pretty bad sometimes when it comes to texting. But it's hard to just ignore the gentle vibration of the phone in my front pocket. It's almost like Pavlov's dogs. The phone vibrates and my fingers start tingling, itching to press some buttons.

When that thing goes off, if I was talking to someone face-to-face, for all I know they floated away, never to be seen again. My cell phone is buzzing and I need to get it. Nothing else matters. I have seen people literally drop everything to answer their cell phone -- notebooks, backpacks, food, small children.

Most of the time the text message isn't even worth it. It's something like "Where r u?" What? You couldn't even take the time to spell out a couple three-letter words? I really shouldn't take the time to text back. I mean, with the screaming child at my feet and notebooks and papers strewn across the sidewalk, I really think that this text can wait for just a couple minutes.

But, they wouldn't have texted me right at that moment if it wasn't important.

"idk u" (Translation: I don't know, you?)

Well, at least I didn't even bother with doing punctuation. That would have taken much longer and people were starting to stare.

Walking and texting is something that I am very proud to say I have mastered. Granted, when my head is down, looking at my phone and willing someone to text or call, I don't notice all the pedestrians, bikers and skateboarders swerving left and right to get out of my way. Once a skateboarder nearly ran me down and forced me to look up. He didn't even bother to say sorry, he was too busy texting. That's just selfish. At least if I'm walking and run into someone, I can't hurt them. He's taking people's lives in his hands when he texts while he's on a skateboard.

Texting has become such a crutch for most people. I can't remember the last time that I actually talked to some of my friends. We can spend hours texting each other every day, but talking just takes way too much time.

The only reason I still call my mother is because she can't figure out how to turn off the all caps on her phone, so every time she texts me she's yelling at me.


I'm sorry mom, I'm coming home right now.


OK, OK, I will. I'm sorry. I'll never go three weeks without doing my laundry again. I'm sorry.

But at least I know when to stop. I can get away from my phone once in a while. One of my friends told me they had never turned their phone off since they'd had it. I can turn my phone off. I even did it this summer for a couple days.

Granted, it was when I was in the middle of the forest with no reception and I had to turn it off to save the battery for the drive home. Even though it was off I still carried my phone around with me everywhere. It was a little pathetic. And, despite the lack of service in the Montana wilderness, I still turned the phone on every couple hours just to make sure I didn't miss any important texts.

However, I am turning over a new leaf. I will no longer be addicted to my phone. The dinner table, classroom, church and car will now all be safe. I am no longer going to drop everything just to answer ...

Is that my phone?


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