Friday, August 15, 2008

Good Bye AT&T

I recently disconnected by land line, for good. Although my provider was Verizon, titling this post "Good Bye Verizon" would not have conveyed the right feeling. The Telephone Company has always been part of my life. As a kid my family shared a party line with the neighbor downstairs. I was always goofing around with it, listening in on our neighbor's conversations or just making funny noises. Before the AT&T breakup no one owned a phone (they provided by AT&T at a monthly charge) and you had to pay for each extension. Calls to 411 were free and if you dialed a wrong number you called the operator and have it taken off your bill. Being able to communicate with a telephone was cheap and simple.

The breakup of the Bell System, the advent of the cell phone, and the use of computers changed everything. I worked on telephone software for AT&T during the early 80s. We found it amusing when they told us that phones no longer "ringed' but instead "alerted". I came to use the cell phone late on, and only out of necessity - if I broke down on the road or lost my wife in the shopping mall. But to make a long story short, it recently occurred to me that I didn't need the land line anymore. Getting rid of it makes me feel free from the long history of having Ma Bell as part of my life. I've given my cell phone number to a select few people, and the rest will get Phone Disconnected when they call my newly defunct number. If they really want to talk to me they will make an effort to do it - if they don't then I don't care. I really feel that I have a Freedom Phone now. If you want to reach me you'll find a way.