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Rotary-Dial Thinking


This morning while Dear Husband was out walking the hound, I decided to call him on my Me-Phone. I noticed, as the outgoing ring-tone of my phone buzzed, that the incoming Ring-Tone of His-Phone, unobserved on the kitchen table, started its chant-sing. He’s got a merry-tune called Uplift dialed-in! The sound is more inviting than the previous Star Wars theme song.


It took me almost a minute to realize that Dear Husband had not taken his phone with him on his daily stroll with Chance through the oaks and rolling hills. I didn’t panic or even feel alarmed. In fact, I laughed. And I wondered if thinking in rotary-dial is something only Eisenhower Babies do. In my “day”, the Touch-Tone Phone was the electronics break-through!


Disclaimer Here: I do not think in Generational Labels. For one, they are inaccurate. Secondly, I can’t keep them straight. How many do we have now? There must be 4 or 5, each one targeting 20 years. I’m not 80 or even 90, but it’s easy to think in terms of Centennials as the number of the names of Generational Groups keeps increasing, and the number of individuals in each group expands, while the birth rate keeps decreasing!

These Generational Labels are the cynical slice-and-dice fabrications made up by the Advertisers and Mass Media for the sole purpose of herding together enough e-wallets to open up and empty out bit-coins or debit-cards into their coffers. (And Millennials don’t use wallets or bit-coins or even trust banks! The debit-card is viewed as a necessary evil.)


This incident of the morning-constitutional-without-a- cell-phone set me to thinking about the myriad times when people have struggled to think in i-Time.

There were, for instances, the times, more than a few, when my very Dear Friend and Reader lost her i-Phone as well as her i-Pad. Completely wiped out her identity for at least a week. She was incommunicado, zoned-out, lost and fearful, actually paranoid, about where she’d left all her personal info that was inextricably linked to her professional info.


Last summer, Dear Husband received birth photos of Mother-and-Child in his e-mail. The personal data were sent to his i-Number from people he didn’t know. He asked me if he should respond. I said the pix might have been part of a mass e-mailing and his response wouldn’t be missed. In the less olden days, egocentric people used to video-tape the event, including the delivery! I was asked once in my work office if I wished to partake in such a viewing. I politely declined.


My rather unique friendship with a 90-year-young woman is firmly based upon her singular, if crusty, response to everything, from road signs warning her to watch out for bicyclists, to the reviled wide-screen tv in her living room, to the cell phone she never uses: WHY?


This fellow gardening enthusiast thinks Rotary-Dial. She might even think telegraph!


People who think in Rotary-Dial respond very differently to the cellular-phone than do the “youths” of today, many of whom unfortunately have come to depend upon “instant communication” as a reality.

Rotary-Dial thinking is a mode of thought that needs to be encouraged, and re-introduced to newer generations -— not for the sake of damning the cellular Phone Network, but for the sake of advancing sanity. The cell connection now forms an endless, though ineffective, umbilical cord that has got to be cut! It’s become the never-ending Matryoshka doll of communication.


There is, in real time, occurring in private, an enormous backlash against the pushers of e-World who can only think in 1s and 0s, $, €, and Renmimbi.

For people in the real world, the rustle of paper has become a loving sound. The feel of a dial on the fingertip lingers affectionately long past the touch of the worn Bakelite on the skin. The second blooming of an iris outside your kitchen window is a sign of renewal. Clumps of soil turned over with the garden spade bear the rich scent of earth, real earth, not G—— earth.


The mere idea of going shopping - going anywhere in the car — without the cell phone along for the ride, that leap of non-faith strikes fear in too many people. That fear was not a part of Rotary-Dial thinking, and I, for one, fight that fear with every turn of my rotary-dial thought.

More than a few years ago, I used a device that Dear Millennial-Daughter referred to as an aircraft carrier. I didn’t find the comment insulting. It made the un-adorable but hulking flat black thing all the more endearing to me. I kinda liked the clumsy slide-off-and-push-up-and-around-motion of the top screen, a flip-top flathead that had the slow, awkward motion of a cigar box leisurely opening up.


The No-Joke Nokia wasn’t even a SmartPhone, but it was my first foray into text-messaging, a skill I still haven’t mastered and likely never will. And I’ve got small nimble fingertips.


This electronic phone was too large to slide into any pocket, and it weighted down the purse, but it made an announcement whenever I hauled it out:


I AM TAKING A CALL NOW (even though I don’t know which button to press to receive it).

I have since advanced to the Me-phone and spend more time looking for new ring tones than actually using the thing. Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini was my favorite, but it got replaced with a smooth sensation called “Silk”. The Cat Meow tempted me, more than once, but I dislike ripping off animals for human profit.


Routinely, I’ve forgotten the Cell Phone in the car and had to retrieve it to use it. I’ve even left it zipped in the “secret” compartment in my purse . . . and then changed purses! Thinking rotary-dial is still with me and I want to keep it still with me . . . forever and always.


I recall the time, decades ago, when I asked the Phone-Man in the Phone Store of the Phone Company in downtown Sacramento how I could obtain a different phone from the one that I’d initially bought from the Phone Store. It seems that it was nearly impossible for a customer to trade-in a phone of one color for a phone of another color. I wanted to ditch the black one and get a pale yellow one!

On the fourth visit to the Phone Store in the (now-obliterated) Downtown Mall, I encountered a very helpful, kind Phone Man who said . . . if the Phone is broken, then I could bring it into the Phone Store to get a replacement for the heavy black model. And carry it home in the Phone Bag.


He winked at me, and I finally saw the light bulb in my brain, at least where the Rotary Dial Phone was concerned. I daringly tossed the heavy black desk phone out the kitchen window of my second-story apartment, right onto the alley below. It cleared the alley of all stray cats, including my huge chronically-runaway tiger cat, Twitty Kitty (named after Conway Twitty).

And Johnny Fever’s Phone Cops did not show up!


I don’t toss my i-Phone out any window or mistreat it, but many a time I do forget its existence. This lesson in living might be the smartest lesson of all for smart people who persist in thinking Rotary-Dial. Unplugging from any and all electronic devices has its infinite rewards. The downside is the brain fog that occurs whenever the name of a new gizmo is mentioned.

Just today, I had to learn that “Alexa” is not the name of an “original" mini-series on Pay-TV, a pay-to-view that is largely watched via pirated access codes. I’d envisioned a Daughter of Dynasty, or at least the Grand-Daughter, without the shoulder pads!


Dear Husband informed me that Alexa is a device. I asked him what does Alexa do? I’d blatantly ignored the existence of “Siri” and sensed she was coming back to haunt me.


I have been informed that Alexa is a Digital Virtual Assistant, an auditory Open-Sesame that the A—-Selling Platform is peddling to control freaks who can’t keep their mouths shut or keep track of their Smart Devices. Alexa is the female foreman for the virtual chain gang.

I don’t believe Alexa uses whips and chains to keep those devices in line, but there’s gonna be one heck of a command-cacophony coming from her: That’s the sound of the devices working on the chain gang!


The jabbering could get intensely loud from Alexa barking the orders to turn off or turn on any link in the chain-line-up of devices. So many devices, so little time!


So we now basically have 1 device to tell all the other devices what to do. The only thing that doesn’t get shut off is the Open Mouth. In digital-time, we’ll quickly need an Anti-Noise Pollution Device. They are conjuring it up now!

The block-Alexa filter will be available for . . .


$129.99 with free shipping!


Maybe someone can take an actual risk, engage in some jeopardy, and call the next device: Alex — just for the sake of parity and “fairness.” And to add some class to the Diversity Class, someone might pitch an item or two to us old-timers. After the e(ternal)-Recession, even if we don’t have much money, we still have wallets.