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.