Before Alexander Graham Bell

The term telephone was adopted into the vocabulary of many languages. It is derived from the Greek: τῆλε, tēle, “far” and φωνή, phōnē, “voice”, together meaning “distant voice” according to Wikipedia. Prior 10 March 1876 when Alexander Graham Bell called out over his invention, the liquid transmitter, to his assistant, “Mr. Watson, come here, I want to see you.”, all dialogues between humans had been conducted within ear shot or shout.

Nowadays telephones permit same-time conversations across the globe. In Asia in the 1990s calling back to the States required placing orders at the local GPO through an overseas operator. Messages were delayed seconds. Interference and electronic feedback were accepted flaws in the system was normal.

Come the second decade of the 21st Century and in one day I speak with my wives in Thailand, my brother Mawee in Loitokitok, Kenya, old friends in Paris, London, and Rome as well as all parts of the Americas and Hawaii. At least until last Thursday when I stepped on my cellphone.


A drop on tile had previously spidered the screen.

My cellphone resisted all attempts to restore service.

For all purposes it was dead, although the flashlight worked fine.

TMobile offered the option of buying another phone and still have to pay for the damaged device. I tried to connect with old burners. No success and on Friday I opted to order another from my server’s insurance company and the agent warned that delivery was scheduled for Monday or Tuesday at the latest.

Four to five days without calls, social media, or texting.

An eternity in the Age of Instant Gratification.

Wikipedia claimed that in 2002, only 10% of the world’s population used mobile phones and by 2005 that percentage had risen to 46%. By the end of 2009, there were a total of nearly 6 billion mobile and fixed-line telephone subscribers worldwide. On July 28, 2023 I was not one of them. I existed outside the Matrix and I felt good. Actually I felt better than good. I felt free. My seconds, minutes, and hours were my own. This was my first time without a cellphone since the late 90s in Bangkok. I could still write emails and messages on my iPad, but that was it, almost as if Alexander Graham Bell had never said those words to Mr. Watson in 1876. Everyone else in the world were trapped in the present ticking second by second into a digital future by the Cell Towers of Babble.

Free at last. Free at last.

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