Good news travels fast in the modern world, no delays as letters are sent via ship across oceans or via pony express across the country. Now when something happens, an update is only minutes away via popular social networking sites like Facebook and, of course, text messages and phone calls — most now with unlimited talk, text and data — with that handy cellphone in your purse or pocket. Sometimes the news might be better delayed — like a recent message I got from my son’s school about some problems he was having in class — but it’s hard to slow down the rapid dissemination of information in our modern world.
Unless you don’t actually have a mobile phone, in which case every time you step outside you’re disconnecting yourself from the digital umbilical cord that now connects the rest of us. I’ll admit, sometimes it’s healthy to consciously disconnect, to leave your phone in the car while you’re enjoying a meal with friends or family, or even just needing to step out of the Matrix-like ever-falling bits of information from the digital sky, but other times it is important to stay plugged in.
And over the Halloween weekend when my Dad’s health took a turn for the worse, I was very thankful for the communication Web that my phone enabled me to have, staying up-to-the-minute on the situation even as I drove to appointments, picked up my children at school and had business meetings.
A new phone — indeed, a huge array of different phone options — was just a quick visit to Walmart away:
We forget the disconnected lives we had 40, 50, 100 years ago, when we learned about everything weeks or even months after the fact. There was no “presence” and the twice-yearly phone calls or monthly letters filled us in on what was going on with far-flung family, but we could never participate because we never knew.
And now we do. Indeed, in this Thanksgiving season, I am most thankful for the technology that lets us stay in close contact with each other in a way that’s completely independent of distance and geography.
And even the cost of this tech is dropping in a remarkable way: The slick little ZTE Zinger, the cell phone you see featured in the images here, is only $39.88 at your local Walmart store, with Walmart’s Family Mobile plan — including unlimited text, talk and data! — another $34.88 per month. Interestingly, WFM is a postpaid service, so you pay for your usage at the end of each month, not the beginning.
I picked up the ZTE Zinger phone at my local Walmart just as my Dad’s health issues began to crop up and I can’t tell you how thankful I am to be able to have a small, inexpensive device in my pocket that let me stay completely on top of the situation even as I continued with the day-to-day of my own life.
There’s no question that cellphones, whether super fancy phablets or just entry-level devices, have changed the world and changed how we communicate. This is particularly true when there’s something critical happening with family, friends or our community, and for that I am unquestionably grateful.
And the ZTE Zinger? A surprisingly nice little phone that is just as comfortable taking a selfie as it is browsing the Web or letting you quickly text updates to your own friends and family. And for less than the tax on the purchase of an iPhone 6 Plus. Go figure.