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Cell Phone Era
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I have read your comments with great interest, finding myself nodding in agreement again and again.

Then I found myself thinking it over. Why *do* I carry my cell phone everywhere? First, freedom from the landline and from having to find a pay phone on the road (there aren't many anymore). Second, security in the knowledge that I can call for help any time, any place.

The freedom aspect has been crucial. When my husband was so very ill, I would have had to take an extended leave of absence from work or would have had to resign altogether, because he needed constant reminders about taking his medications, doing his physical therapy and so forth.

I was (and still am) calling him several times a day to find out how he feels, does he have a fever, how bad the pain level is. My cell phone lets me check on him and still be out of the house to earn the money that keeps us in food, clothing, shelter and meds, run errands, visit friends.

I never thought much about the security aspect until the day the cell phone saved my life. I was driving 75+ miles per hour in the fast lane of the freeway in the pre-dawn dark in my dark blue-gray car when the car died. No engine, no lights, no nothing. My car became invisible against the dark pavement and the dark sky.

I took my life in my hands just trying to set out a couple of flares so I wouldn't be smashed to smithereens before help could arrive. And then I got on my cell phone and called 911.

In the bad old days B.C. (before cell phones) I would have had to have crossed on foot 4 lanes of traffic barrelling along the freeway in the dark to get to a pay phone. Or I would have had to sit there in the car, praying the whole time that help would find me before some driver half-asleep at the wheel in the wee hours of the morning plowed into me.

The California Highway Patrol arrived a few minutes later and, lights flashing, pushed me over to the side, down an onramp and into a Chevron gas station where I could safely park until the tow truck came.

The second time the cell phone saved me was the time my car (same car; last time I drove it) burst into flames on Sepulveda Boulevard, again in the cool cool cool early morning hours (I drive a lot in the early morning and late night). I used my cell phone to call for help. Standing outside a burning car in that neighborhood was sure to attract attention from unsavory characters, not least from the "No tell" motels along the boulevard.

Without a cell phone for immediate contact with husband and with emergency services, I would feel unsafe and out of touch. More and more, as I get older I would feel uncertain about going places at night, unfamiliar places; I would worry about my car breaking down and leaving me stranded.

The cell phone gives me a little peace of mind.

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