Negative Rights

I saw this program on television this weekend that mentioned negative rights – the right to be without something. Right away I thought about cell phones. In this day and age, is it even possible to be free of this communication device?

I personally don’t care for cell phones. I have an answering machine at home so anyone who needs to can leave a message for me there. I have no desire to own a cell phone. I think that cell phones are actually an invasion of privacy. If I am going out, I don’t want to be reachable. I want to go out and enjoy my time and myself. I have the right not to be interrupted in my day-to-day life. Yet, I find that it is almost expected that I should have a cell phone.

The last few times I have had to fill out personal information for whatever reason, there is always a space on the page for an alternate telephone number. I fill out the forms and leave that blank. I then hand the paper to the agent and they look at the blank spot and inevitably ask, “Don’t you have a cell phone?”

I answer, “No, I don’t and I don’t want one either!” I mean really, why do they care if I have a cell phone when I am signing up for a video club membership?

If I am in line and need extra information to fill out the form, I always get asked, “Do you have a cell phone?”

“No I don’t! I have negative rights.” Maybe that can be my new catch phrase next time I am asked that question.

I don’t need my boss or girlfriend tracking me down. I don’t have anything that pressing that I need to be available at all hours of the day and night. Leave me a message at home. I will return it quickly and promptly.

I want to be free of you when I go out and about. I want to have time that is mine and that you can’t pop into wherever I am whenever you feel like it.

That being said, I don’t have a cell phone; I don’t plan to buy one, and I don’t care if I am the only person on earth who doesn’t have one. Besides did any one read Stephen King’s Cell? Scary stuff right there and good motivation not to own one.

2 Comments on Negative Rights

  1. A cell phone quickly becomes a crutch, an addiction, a tool of laziness.

    I have had one for several years and often wonder what I would do without it. Answer: Exactly what I did without it. Use my brain to remember, write down what I knew my brain wouldn’t remember and wait on the rest until I reached a regular phone.

    I had the %$#^ thing in my pocket a few weeks ago, inadvertently, and it went off while I was hiking through the woods near my house, trying to relax after work. Very annoying.

    Phones in general are very annoying. Someday, it will be discovered that the rise in cancers these days is a direct result of irritation of the adrenal glands by all the telephonic ringing, beeping and buzzing to which the modern human is subjected day and night — the incessant, “Answer me, answer me, answer me, nowdamit!”

  2. I think I have seen people addicted to cell phones. They always seem to be on the phone. I always wonder who they could be talking to all the time. I don’t like to talk much on the phone and can’t figure out why I would want to burden myself with having a phone wherever I go.

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