But Everyone Has One

A tree’s simple demands: sun, water, and soil. Divine.

Miles run today: 4.5

Interviews I am ahead by for next week’s deadline: 2 (yippee!)

Hours per week my son watches CNET: 10 (best guess)

Yesterday, my almost-12-year-old son handed me a spreadsheet.

There were lots of numbers. In rows. And columns.

Him: See, Mom?! We can afford a cell phone!

Me: Since when is $2,400 per year affordable?

Him: I thought you said you were getting a job.

Me: Not as Leader of the Free World.

Him: But look! There’s one that’s only $5 per month!

Me: What’s the catch? Is it cardboard?

Him: Everyone has a cell phone. [long sigh]

Me: You don’t.

Him: [another long sigh] I know.

I always wanted lots of things, even the dump trucks that boys on commercials drove through big piles of dirt. Hereย is a sampling of whatย I didn’t get:

A canopied bed.

A Barbie. (until I was 10, and then my mom got one for my sister, and she felt like she had to get me one, but by then, I was almost too old for them, so it was a Pyrrhic victory.)

A Big Wheel.

Penny loafers.

Cable TV.

A microwave.

When I brought out the “But everyone has one!” argument, my parents were unmoved.

I mean: stony faces, lack of sympathy, comments about how some kids didn’t even own shoes or have food to eat.

I didn’t have spreadsheets at my disposal. For all I know, they hadn’t been invented yet.

So I worked the Charm angle.

The problem: I wasn’t particularly charming.

When I was my son’s age, I really, really, really wanted a phone in my bedroom. I wanted a cream-colored one that looked old-fashioned: a princess phone.

At the time, all phones were very much attached to the wall, or the unit itself… you could walk around the corner in our kitchen, but the cord only extended so far. You could sit on my parent’s bed and talk, but the cord only stretched to the door of their bathroom.

Seriously: everyone had a phone in her room. Everyone.

I’m not sure what I needed to talk about in my room that was private. Most likely, the hot lifeguard who twirled his whistle lackadaisically in the summer sun. I do remember a long argument my good friend and I got into about why she was annoying because she was a Virgo and why I was so bossy as a Leo.

I think that may have been the moment my mom decided a phone in my room was not such a bad idea.

She dashed upstairs and plugged that cord right into the wall and slapped an old, plastic blue phone on my bedside table.

I was thrilled. I called everyone. Everyone.

And it didn’t cost $2,400.

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32 thoughts on “But Everyone Has One

  1. Bernie Brown says:

    You’re never too old to use the “everyone has one” argument. I still don’t have a smart phone with internet access. Ken gets an ugly look on his face every time I bring it up. My newest argument: my camera died (it did not survive Myrtle Beach), so why not get a smart phone, I ask. Ugly look. I could just go ahead and get one, but that’s not the way we operate. Even though Ken worked for IBM for 37 years, I have had to coax him into every piece of technology that has entered our lives, starting with a home computer. Then a cell phone, then wireless, then a GPS. Never mind that once we acquire these things, he is the biggest user of them. I will get a smart phone with internet access, it will just take some charm. (I don’t do spreadsheets, either.)

    • annewoodman says:

      Bernie, You have lots of charm, so I see Ken caving on this one pretty soon. ; ) I am the one who’s pretty hard-core about acquiring big things we can’t afford, so it’s only after we get a really nice camera or a flat-screen TV or whatever that I think to myself, “Wow. That’s pretty cool.” It’s hard to admit sometimes.

  2. Holly says:

    Well, there’s always the primitive phones that Clark & I have. But I don’t think your son would deign to have one…they are not cool AT ALL. I hope I regain my coolness when I get an iPad mini.

    Don’t forget the VCR. We were so late on that one!

    Hmm, now that I think about it, I appear to be following in Mom & Dad’s Luddite trail….

    • annewoodman says:

      I think Clark will keep you on the technology trail, don’t worry. ; ) Your iPad mini will be like a magnet for all of the people in my family. You will continue your reign as Cool Aunt.

  3. Carrie Rubin says:

    I always said I wouldn’t let my kids have cell phones. And then I did. But it gives me great piece of mind to know that when my son bikes downtown with his friend I can text him and make sure he’s okay. I disable the Internet on their phones–no kid should have unsupervised access to that wasteland–but it’s been awfully convenient. So, yes, I caved. Dang it… (By the way–your son sounds pretty smart. Love the spreadsheet. ๐Ÿ™‚ )

    • annewoodman says:

      Yes, the cell phone is in the cards… but not because everyone has one.

      Because I’ll need to know where he is, etc. And it’s not gonna happen until I’m ready for it to happen. And that’s final. ; ) But it was a very impressive gesture…

  4. David Gentry says:

    Anne, great blog! Dad

  5. David Gentry says:

    Aw, Honey, you WERE charming!
    BTW, we were still using your old phone up until last year.

    Mom

  6. jmmcdowell says:

    Part of me thinks I should go for a smart phone. But a bigger part of me keeps holding back. I think my niece and nephews got theirs in high school, when the parents wanted to keep track of them more easily. And they did not have “unlimited talk and data.”

    I didn’t have any more luck with the “but all my friends…” argument, either. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Good parents today still don’t give in to it.

    • annewoodman says:

      I’m glad I wasn’t the only one whose parents wouldn’t cave. I thought maybe I was doing something wrong. ; )

      It took a while for me to get a smart phone. And really, until I need my son to have one, he won’t have one. Poor thing. ; )

  7. Me and both my kids (aged 13 and 10) have smart phones, I caved a while ago on that one! Conversations between my daughter and I often go like this:

    DAUGHTER: I need an iPad because everyone has one.
    ME: I bet Milly doesn’t have one.
    DAUGHTER: Well no, not Milly, but she doesn’t count because she never has anything.

    Always an answer!

    • annewoodman says:

      Ha! Yes, it’s funny when you start asking about individual people. “So ___’s mom lets him walk up to the store, hang out with motorcycle dudes and smoke near the dumpsters?” “Um, well, not HIS mom.” “What about ____?” “Well, no, not him either.” The truth begins to come out. ; )

  8. Amy Mak says:

    The argument never worked with my parents either. “So?” they’d say. Like the spreadsheet though; at least he’s using his brain! My daughter and him must be in cahoots.

  9. 4amWriter says:

    My daughter talks about what all of her friends have, and muses over how nice it would be to have her own phone or Ipod etc. But when I tell her she has to do chores to pay for these things, she quiets down pretty fast. Hit ’em where it hurts, Anne. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • annewoodman says:

      Ha! My son would be completely willing to work a full-time job at this point, so focused is he on gaining a cell phone. Do you know of any employers willing to take on an almost-12-year-old? Yeah. That’s the problem. ; )

  10. Phone in my room? Yeah right. My dad’s line was, “If it takes more than two minutes to talk to someone, you should just go see them.” We didn’t live close to anyone I wanted to call so my bicycle got a real workout. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • annewoodman says:

      Yes, the phone in the room thing was pretty spoiled. Funny how you can only see stuff like that in retrospect.

      And now, teens like to stand in the same room with each other and text. It’s pretty weird.

  11. Very funny ๐Ÿ˜‰
    I remember being desperate for a Barbie House and asking my mother if she thought I could put it on my list for Santa. ‘It’s a little too much for Santa,’ she said. When we went round to my friend’s house after christmas and she showed me what Santa had got her – the same Barbie House thatI had been hankering after, I apparently ran over to my mother and stamped on her foot.
    Now, I just want things that no one else has!

    • annewoodman says:

      Ha! Santa has a range of socio-economic-driven gifts that he hands out, it seems. Your poor mother. ; )

      There are still things I want… but I have more control over which of them I get. Boots rank high on the list.

  12. Big Wheels were awesome. That is all.

  13. I was deprived of roller skates. I tell my children this often, it explains why I am such a grump. You really need to get your son that phone.

  14. Melissa says:

    I must say I find you very charming…it just doesn’t work on parents. Tell your son that my boys didn’t get their phones until they were *gasp* 16. They can send texts and make phone calls…no email…no internet access….I know, we’re evil. We also told them that they were starting a new trend by not having one.

    I didn’t get a phone in my room until I moved into the dorm in college….but I did have a big wheel…it was awesome.

    • annewoodman says:

      Yes, my son is definitely starting a new trend… the low-tech trend of trying to talk to his friends on the bus while they play video games on their phones. ; )

      Oh, Big Wheel that never was… I will never forget you.

  15. Ravena Guron says:

    I’ve never used that argument… I might now ๐Ÿ™‚

    I have a phone, but it’s an old one, and it’s on credit, so I don’t use it because each phone call costs SO MUCH. I’ve been dropping hints that I need a contract phone because… I don’t actually know. So I can call my friends more instead of miss calling them and getting them to call me. And so I can text people when I’m at their house instead of ringing the doorbell.

    Phones are cool. I’m sure your son will put his future phone to use in the same way I would mine. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • annewoodman says:

      Yes, it will probably make his whole year… until he wants a newer, better phone. It never ends. ; )

      My son can’t believe that when I was at college and I didn’t know where my friends were, I just had no way to get in touch with them. No. Way. They were out on campus somewhere, and I had to wait until our paths crossed. It was very cosmic.

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