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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Un-Bell the Cat

A "pet peeve": When I'm talking with someone, having a great conversation, rolling along like a lazy river, and "ring ring" goes their cell phone, and suddenly I'm sitting there twiddling my thumbs.

The phone, like any modern "convenience," can work for us or against us.

For years, I resisted even having one. When asked why, I would say that having a phone was like the old story of "belling the cat," where the mice wanted to put a bell on the cat's neck so they'd always know where he was.

The project, by the way, was deemed impossible. No mouse was brave enough to attempt it.

Not so the mobile phone. In early 2009, according to The Guardian (UK), the U.N. reported that there were 4.1 billion mobile phone subscriptions worldwide. Given that there were only 1 billion subscriptions in 2002, by now that number must be much larger.

Of course, some people hold multiple subscriptions. Still, the U.N., estimated that over half the world's population had a cell phone.

And I estimate that at least half of those are slaves to their phones.

Here's an idea: Set it to "silent." Use it like a mobile answering machine, and simply check it periodically to see if there's someone you need to (or want to) call back.

Make your phone work for you, not vice versa. Don't be a slave to your phone. Un-bell the cat.

You'll be happier.

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