You Need a Phone by Karen Marsh
I just got off the phone with my soon-to-be-ex-husband. I’m in my office, where I have a phone. During the weeks that my husband takes care of the kids, I stay in a condo and do not have a phone there. I don’t have a cell phone either. My friends have stopped saying, “You need a phone.” My husband has not.
What gave rise to this particular assertion that I “need” a phone was an issue related to one of the kids that he would have liked to have heard about last night. Instead, I told him about it this morning. He feels that he might have done things differently this morning had he known the information last night. Hence, “Karen, you NEED a phone!!!”
Well, do you know what? I DON’T need a phone. And there are a lot more factors playing into the fact that my husband did not have the information he wanted when he wanted it than simply the fact that I don’t have a phone. Take for example the fact that he is choosing to exit our marriage. Yes, I think that probably has an effect on our level of communication. And I’m not telling him that he should stay in the marriage. It’s about personal choice. One of the beautiful things about dissolving a marriage is realizing that you are not “in the orbit” of the other person. I like the freedom of not having a phone some of the time. I also like being 100% present with my kids when I am with them and basing my decisions on my interactions with them. I have not yet felt that my abilities to parent them were compromised by the fact that I could not get information from someone else on the phone. Also, I actually don’t think that being slightly compromised is always a bad thing.
I would like to make one thing clear. Your friends stopped bugging you about getting a phone since it was landing on vacant ears. I still think you need a phone, but I do agree it's selfish. When I have a free night at home I often think to myself, "hey I should call Karen tonight to see if she is also sitting around looking for something to do". So again, it's totally selfish. I could easily walk up to the condo and see if you are around but it's just so easy to be social- just picking up the phone. I understand the love of not having a phone, if forces you to just enjoy the moment without interuptions. It's the same reason I seldom have my cell phone on. I do not need to be reached at all hours of the day. And certainly, when I'm with my kids, I do not have anything important enough that demands a cell phone- although my husband insists it's a safety issue. He wants me to be able to call him if my car breaks down or there is a true emergency.
I don't know what kind of statement not having a phone makes, but I think it's just stupid. What if your house is broken into? Can you call 911? No, you can't. What if one of your kids goes into shock over a bee sting? Can you get an ambulance to your house toot sweet? Nope. Gossiping on the phone may not be your thing, but when you have kids...safety should be a priority.
Thanks for your concern. Actually, I do have a phone at the house where I stay every other week with my kids. Due to the marriage dissolution and the co-parenting agreement, I am in a condo every other week. At the condo, which is in a building set up rather like a college dormitory, I have chosen not to install a phone line. I know my neighbors and each of them has a phone. With a good community and a sharing ethic, not everyone has to have a phone. In an emergency, you can knock on the door that is about 3 inches from your own. And your neighbor can do the same if he/she needs a cup of sugar. :)
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