“I smell hot plastic,” my husband said one morning while making waffles. As the smell got stronger, he discovered his phone melted into the bottom of the waffle iron-the waffle iron’s serial number melted into the screen – rendering the screen completely useless and phone speaker a near casualty.

After months of “just getting by” he finally got a new phone…a smart phone. I think it must have given my phone an inferiority complex, for only two days later my phone fell into the toilet and committed sewercide.

The first day without a phone was pleasant – no interruptions, no distractions. The second day was still peaceful, but I was starting to feel its loss: no clock, no nightlight, no calculator, no texting, and no mobile music.

I wasn’t missing the phone portion so much until I sat down to write this column – then I really felt its loss. I always make little notes to myself of things I’d like to write about, and put them in my phone so I won’t lose them. That didn’t seem to work so well. I glanced over at my phone, disassembled in a jar of rice, hoping the desiccant would cause a miraculous recovery.

It’s amazing how those little devices have embedded themselves so deeply into our society.

It wasn’t that long ago that I only used my cellphone for emergency purposes because you were charged per minute, and it wasn’t cheap. And when you did use it, one always needed to be careful of the little icon indicating that you were “roaming.” I doubt today’s teenagers even know what that means.

When my husband and I were dating, we lived an hour apart, and because it was long distance, our phone calls were somewhat limited. Now, even with some landline carriers there is nationwide long distance.

I recently asked my younger sister if it was still long distance between Hermiston and Irrigon. She said she didn’t understand my question. If roaming and long distance are growing obsolete, I’m certain party lines and pressing zero to speak to a live operator are gone forever.

Dialing has become just a word, not an action taken to call someone; and a princess phone just means it’s pink and bejeweled.

Today, even landlines have caller ID, voicemail, call waiting, call forwarding, some have Bluetooth technology to pair with your cellphones, and a few cordless phones even claim to have enough signal strength to cover 12 floors in a building or 3,000 acres on a farm or ranch.

What would have filled up a room in the 1980s, now fits in a small handheld device: television, camcorder, camera, radio, music files, video games, apps, GPS, and much more.

I sat staring at my rice-filled phone when the realization slowly dawned that, like phone booths, it will soon be just a memory. RIP.

Brianna Walker’s Farmer’s Fate runs occasionally in the Blue Mountain Eagle.

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