One night, second-year Laura Felley took the wrong exit out of a Ratner locker room and wound up on the field. All of the gates were locked, and no one was around. As she contemplated climbing the fence, Felley said, she really wished she owned a cell phone.
The last time most U of C students picked up their dorm phones was to hang up on a telemarketer. Felley, though, belongs to the small group who communicate by dorm phone, instant messenger, and e-mail, but without cell phones.
Felley said her parents stipulated that she could use a cell phone at home, but only in emergencies.
“I am not allowed to call friends; send or receive text messages, etc.,” she said. “My parents call me once a week on the landline in my dorm room, and I e-mail them several times a week. I figure out plans with my friends through e-mail or instant messenger. As for the getting lost—I get lost so easily that I doubt that a cell phone would be of much use.”
Felley cited concerns about the cost of cell phones and “the little tricks the companies use to jack up your phone bill” as her reason for sticking with her dorm phone. However, third-year Derek Serna-Gallegos said he just doesn’t like to be bothered.
“It can be annoying when you’re hanging out with someone, and they’re on the phone the whole time,” he said.
Serna-Gallegos said he makes plans with friends ahead of time and knows where all the public phones around campus are.
“The one time it really sucks [is when you’re] trying to get a girl’s phone [number] and you have to get paper out to write it down,” he said. “That’s when I wish I had a cell phone.”
Third-year Blake Langdon bought a cell phone for the first time this year.
“I figured being an R.A. kind of required the need to be able to get in touch with people,” she said. “My friends have cell phones, and it’s nice to be able to get in contact with them if I’m waiting somewhere.”
Langdon said she still doesn’t text message or use her camera phone. She recommended that people who do own cell phones use them in moderation.
“Talk to real people as well,” Langdon said. “The cell phone is a good tool for meeting up with people, but I think it can get in the way of other things.”