I may get a cell phone, but Ill never like using it

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I don't want anybody to get all gooey about this, but I'm about this close to getting a cell phone, and you need to know that I'm holding my thumb and forefinger about a half-inch apart.

This is big news because (A) I've never had a cell phone and don't really see the need for one except for those times when my wife and I can't find each other at the mall; and (B) I just happen to have all kinds of other technological advances going on in my life right now - a new laptop (never had one), a new computer at home with a dedicated line instead of dial-up, and (coming soon) our Christmas present to ourselves, a new high-definition flat-screen TV to take the place of the 7,000-pound square thing we used to have that died of natural causes this fall.

I don't want to give anyone the impression that I hate technology because I really don't. I'm lazy enough to recognize that many of these fancy doodads may conceivably make my life easier.

Two automobile purchases ago, I looked down my nose at the package of 'extras' that came with a new Honda Accord. Automatic door locks, cruise control, keyless entry and air conditioning all seemed like a big fat waste of money to me.

Now, of course, I couldn't live without any of those.

Today, more and more cars are coming with navigation systems. Another frivolous frill, it seems to me, and yet people whose opinions I value insist they will never buy another vehicle without one.

A perfectly good example of how change can be good is the fact that telephones used to have - and I want you young people to pay attention here - this round rotary dial that you had to stick your finger in (say, the number '6'), then twirl the big round thing all the way around as far as it would go and then pull your finger out and it would go tick-tick-tick-tick-tick-tick. Then you would dial the next number.

I'm telling you, you could be totally exhausted by the time you got a whole phone number dialed - and God help you if you did it wrong and had to start all over again.

Still, not being one of those gadget-lovers (and you know who you are), I do have my limits.

I may break down and get a cellular phone - but not one of those combination phone-computer-music-players that requires all of one's attention all the time.

I don't do texting, I don't play video games, and I can wait to be in front of a computer to do my Web-surfing.

I don't even like talking on the phone. In fact, I'm not altogether sure that phones don't siphon off little bits of your soul every time you use one.

In fact, please consider this sort of a medical directive: If you should see me walking around wearing one of the little Bluetooth thingamajigs on my ear jabbering into the sky like some kind of nut, you are hereby invited to shoot me in the head.

I've given this a lot of thought, and I can't for the life of me figure out why I find it so annoying to see people talking on phones in their cars, in restaurants and walking down the sidewalk. It also bugs me to see people all bent over their little electronic gizmos, checking e-mails and sending messages, no matter where they are and what they're doing.

This is my issue and not theirs. I know that.

But if you're in a movie theater, watch the stinking movie and put your little nightlight away.

If you're at a rock concert, listen to the music and watch the show. Don't try to talk to somebody on your stupid phone right then. It just makes you look retarded.

And if you're driving a car, making a turn at a busy intersection - while you're yacking on your phone - you're not only being ridiculous, you're being dangerous.

This frustration of mine is not, of course, unprecedented. I know my parents used to get irritated at us kids because we always had our nose in a comic book. It was the equivalent in that era of kids and their video games.

We used to be chastised: 'Why don't you put down that book and go outside and get some fresh air?' Which, of course, we thought was the stupidest thing we ever heard.

Former editor of the Lake Oswego Review and former managing editor of the Beaverton Valley Times and The Times, serving Tigard, Tualatin and Sherwood, Mikel Kelly handles special sections for Community Newspapers and contributes a regular column.