Lately, there has been talk of a new wireless tower being built in Pine Mountain Club. While many people are excited at the prospect of mobile phone service in the mountains, I am less enthusiastic. I'm not against technology or mobile phones and I would certainly enjoy the peace of mind of having reliable phone coverage to deal with roadside emergency issues. What concerns me, is how mobile phone service will change our way of life in the mountain communities.
As I think about my most recent local restaurant experience, Not one patron was talking on their cell phone. No, they were conversing with ... one another. They were even conversing with people at the tables next to them. Imagine that! Whenever I go to the town post office I know I will find a bunch of people, talking with one another as they wait in line to be served by our cheerful postmistress. I hope that this won't change.
Without the escape of a mobile phone with which to call someone, far away, people resort to ... conversation with their neighbors.
I do look forward to having local cell phone coverage in our community, (I even hope that SprintPCS will be the provider so that I can use my Treo 650). I just hope that residents of our community will not adopt cell phones in the way residents of big cities have; where it seems like many people have become self absorbed in their compulsive cell phone conversations at the expense of politeness, courtesy, and even public safety; where it is nearly impossible to attend a meeting or movie or eat diner without a someone's cell phone going off to some annoying musical madness.
While many will cite the public safety benefits of having a cell phone to call for roadside assistance, I wonder about something else: what will travel be like on the mountain roads and S-curves once drivers find out that they can talk on their cell phones while passing in a no-passing lane at the same time?
I don't want to escape to the mountains only to have to listen to other people's private conversations as they sit at the table next to me or stand in line in front of me. I would prefer not to have another reason to be fearful of distracted drivers on the mountain roads.
Again, the issue is not about technology; it is about courtesy.
Please, friends, as you enjoy the mobile phone service that will eventually come to our community, let's not forget the tranquility of mountain living; a way of life that we are truly blessed to enjoy.