COLUMN: On being dragged out of redundancy

The call for change and cost-saving was renewed Monday evening thanks to a smartphone text message from my sister.

On the Other Hand by Mark Rushton

The call for change and cost-saving was renewed Monday evening thanks to a smartphone text message from my sister.

“If she can do it, why can’t you?” was the response from my home bill-payer.

My sister declared in the text “I’ve cancelled the house phone.” She will now receive communications only through her cell phone, something that has been argued for in this house for some time.

The reason, put bluntly to me, is “no one ever calls on the land-line anymore, except for telemarketers,” along with, I might add, wrong numbers that invariably ring the phone at 3 a.m. or thereabouts.

It is rare for someone under 40 to have a land-line these days. Change is slow for those over a certain age as we cling to the notion that others may want to find us, and that the first course of action is to look us up in the phone book.

But even that source of information is rapidly diminishing in size because they don’t include cell phone numbers. I can’t remember (other than a call last week from someone older than me) who has contacted me in years, based on the directory.

Then my angst at disappearing into the ether was assuaged somewhat by checking my listing in the phone book. There, under my home number is listed “Mark’s FAX line.” I cancelled that number years ago, and haven’t had a fax machine for a decade or more.

As for sending documents, it’s now easy to scan them to email and print at your leisure, never worrying that the information hasn’t arrived due to the fax machine running out of paper or ink.

Why pay for any service that is rarely used has been the argument presented to me lately. Additionally, with the bundled phone, cable and internet bill hovering near $200 per month, why are we paying for all those television channels we never watch?

The latter question is difficult to refute. Other than one bored evening a week or so ago, I haven’t watched one minute of “entertainment” TV in more than a month. Even Canucks hockey has been long off my radar.

Will I miss the home phone number, which has been imbedded in my memory for 30 or more years, and used as a personal identifier for many agencies and services? Perhaps in some odd way, but as I reconcile its impending cancellation, and a much more discriminating (and hopefully far cheaper) array of available television channels, I have to admit “good riddance.” The savings should be considerable.

On the other hand, I have been told reducing access to high-speed internet is not an option in our household.

The inter-connectivity with the world and all the information it offers is not, like the phone directory, a closed book.

So with the sound of saving money and eliminating annoying telemarketers, I am being dragged, not necessarily kicking and screaming, into the new age of communications.

As for contacting me when my name no longer appears in the phone book and you don’t have my cell number, there’s the internet or email, the address of which is readily available at the bottom of this column or online. If none of that works, do you really need to talk to me?