December 29, 2019:
I bought my first cell phone when my addict housemate, formerly fiancée, racked up $11,000 in long-distance calls to Croatia.
The minute our engagement ended she found a new fiancé online. He was a Croatian soldier, a black-out alcoholic, a cutter. Spurred by their conversations she began cutting too. They'd talk, drink, cry, cut, over international long-distance. I'd arrive home from work to find blood everywhere.
The first month, our long-distance bill was $5,000. She explained, "I've been calling my fiancé in Croatia. I had no idea it would cost that much." She promised to stop immediately.
The second month the bill was $3,000. I discontinued the long-distance service, thinking that would be the end of it.
The third monthly bill was again $3,000. She'd found a third-party dial-in number allowing her to place long-distance calls without having a long distance account tied directly to our home phone.
I knew it was not safe, but I couldn't think of another option. I pulled the phone out of the wall, threw it in the trash, disconnected our home telephone service. So there was no land line anymore at all. I don't know what she could've done if there was an earthquake, or a fire, or she hurt herself. Those were my constant fears. That she'd need emergency help, and not be able to call for it. But I saw no other solution.
That's when I bought my first cell phone. The first iPhone: the iPhone One. With a grandfathered account I still use: unlimited everything.
I'd never wanted a cell phone. It felt like being tethered to other people's whims. Even when it would have been a good idea for work, I'd resisted. It was the force of circumstances which drove me to it. $11,000 worth of force.
What's my point?
I dunno. I guess, that crisis leads to change, stress forces evolution, so that, much like World War Two, the emergency of the situation drove me to technological adoption I wouldn't have otherwise considered. As if my smart phone were somehow analogous to radar.