Cell phones…oh how I love to hate thee. What was once a luxury is now an everyday necessity. One can barely leave the house without packing their beloved mobile device - a device that connects them to anyone and everyone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. But it doesn’t come without obligation. Missed calls, unanswered text messages and new voicemails wait patiently for response. If slow to reply, assumptions can be drawn or accusations made. Freedom? There’s no such thing when a cell phone attached to your hip.
As you’ve probably already realized, I’m no fan of cell phones. I find them restricting and hate the fact that I’m accountable to answer or return a call immediately after its made. I’ll get back to you when I feel like it - whether it’s 2 minutes or 2 hours from now (emergencies being the exception.) I get aggravated with people who are constantly on their phones or endlessly writing text messages - especially while in my presence. Am I not interesting enough to hold your attention? I’m not trying to sound like a hater or suggesting that focus should be on me at all times, but I think there is a time and a place for cell phones and it’s definitely not during a dinner date or serious conversation.
Maybe I’m just easily aggravated by customized ring tones, fancy add-ons or constant upgrades, but what I detest more than anything are text messages. I find them extremely impersonal and I hate trying to decipher the tone or meaning of each message. I think text messages are an excuse not to call someone and it drives me crazy! Even worse is the rampant cell phone use among younger generations. Now a days you see 8th graders (and younger!) toting cell phones wherever they go. It’s insane! Why on Earth does an 8th grader need a cell phone? I mean really, they’re either at home, at school or out with friends. Who else needs to call them? I didn’t get a cell phone until my freshman year in college and even then it was like pulling teeth to convince my parents I needed one. They eventually caved, but only after realizing I didn’t have a landline in my dorm and a cell phone was only way to keep tabs on me. Even then I didn’t use it much and still had a great social life.
That being said, I can’t hate on the cell phone that much. I suppose I’m somewhat of a hypocrite. Cell phones are extremely convenient and have definitely been to my benefit in many situations. They enable people to get a hold of each other, no matter the time or place. This is especially important if an emergency occurs. Cell phones are the 21st century’s safety blanket, as anyone is just a phone call away. I think my problem is that I hate the loss of independence that occurs when carrying one. The thought of knowing you can be called up at any minute and your schedule can change in an instant is too invasive and really bothers me. I wish I could walk around cell phone free and not have a care in the world - but I can’t.
However, living abroad has given me some sense of freedom from my mobile. Though I still I take it everywhere I go, I don’t worry much about missing calls or listening to voicemail. The friends I’ve made over here I see almost everyday, thus phone calls aren’t really necessary. Sure I use it time to time, but it’s not a crutch like it is when I’m at home. I like it better this way. Though my cell phone gets somewhat neglected while I’m in Europe, my friend Skype gets quite the workout. For those of you who don’t know what Skype is – you’re missing out on the best invention for those far from friends and family. Skype is a program that allows you to talk to loved ones for free. All you need is a computer and webcam with a microphone and you’re set. It’s super convenient and makes home seem that much closer. Whenever I’m at my apartment or on the internet, my Skype is on. It’s like a cell phone in the sense that when I’m online anyone else who is online can call me. It’s a connection to home and I’m not sure what I would do without it.
In a different line of thought, yesterday was the start of Carnival in Portugal. It’s basically a weeklong holiday celebration with parades, fireworks, junk food and costumes. It’s really neat and is something I never knew about until this year. Last night Casey and I attended the Madeira Symphony (which was beautiful) downtown with some teammates. After it was over, we wandered around the city center to people watch. Apparently we didn’t get the memo, as we soon found out it was transvestite night. Men were dressed as women and women dressed as men. It was hilarious, especially when the men who were dressed as women tried to hit on us. Talk about a bizarre situation! Hmm…he looks cute, but that red lipstick and mascara is really throwing me off…This evening there was a fireworks show and parade that started around 9:30pm. It was great and real fun to see so many happy people singing, dancing and enjoying each others company. I think the coolest part was that there was barely any police presence and everyone seemed to be on good behavior. Unfortunately we’ll miss the next 3 days of festivities, as right now, basketball is my #1.
Basketball Update: Tomorrow we play Barcelos at Barcelos. We beat them earlier this season by double digits, but as the regular season starts to wind down, every game is a big game. I’ll be staying the next 2 nights in Porto because I’ll be participating in All-Star festivities. Last week I found out I was selected as the starting center for the South team in the Portuguese All-Star game. It’s an honor to be selected and I am excited for 2 days of fun. It will be nice to chat with other Americans and hang out with male players from other teams. Jason Smith, CAB’s PG and my good friend was also selected as a starter. It will be fun to cheer each other on and represent the club. Lastly, my achilles are starting to feel better. They don’t really bother me when I play anymore. The problem is that the back of my basketball shoe pushes right on the tender spots. This is what is causing my discomfort and since I can’t play without my basketball shoes, I’ll just have to wait for the pain to subside, Looks like it’s time for a new pair of kicks! (Hint, hint J…☺)