Posted by: Kate | March 6, 2008

To Reach an Operator, Press…

How do you have your cell phone programmed?

I was thinking about this last night, on my way to the hospital for work, because I’ve got my personal cell all set up with an address book and with quick-dial numbers for those I call most.  My friends and family have all been considerate enough to have sufficiently different names that I can base the quick-dial number on the letter of their first name… 2 for Carolyn, 3 for Dad, 4 for Gretchen, etc.  I appreciate that, guys, really I do.

But my work phone has an entirely different set of numbers, sometimes with two or three different numbers for each hospital.  And there are three Dr. Shrink numbers on there, and of course Perfect J and Curmudgeonly J share a first initial.  It becomes a much more intimidating prospect, so for now I just scroll through my Contacts list until I see the right name.

And of course, when I made the mistake of admitting to Perfect J that I don’t have a system figured out yet, I got her baffled, technophobic response of, “Oh, I’ve never programmed any numbers into mine.  I just remember them all.”  Way to turn your electronic inferiority into intellectual superiority, well played.

So, do tell: is this an epidemic, or just another random thing about which I am the only person to give more than ten seconds’ thought?


  1. I only have my husband and mother on speed dial, otherwise I have people programmed in by first and last name and start typing in the name on the search feature when I’m in the address book.

  2. I’m pretty sure the only phone number I could spout off to you by memory is my own home number.

    Everybody else is in my phone book and the gawds be damned if my laptop and phone ever die at the same time. I’d probably never speak to my inlaws, friends, neighbors or pizza take out place ever again if that happened.

  3. I try to remember the 5 (or so) numbers of friends I could call in a crisis, including if the cell battery is dead and I have to walk somewhere for a phone. I’ve been in crisis, though, and had a hard time remembering phone numbers when I was shaking and gasping, or stranded and scared.

    Otherwise, I pick out my contacts by typing in an initial letter.

  4. Hermits are of no help in, among other things, social contacts. Don’t have any, and all you need to know is, 911 – if you even want to call that.
    You’re welcome, Kate 😉

  5. I have a freakish memory for phone numbers (still recall just about every phone number I’ve ever had in my 33 years) and email addresses. While I have family members’ numbers on speed dial on my phone, it is only because I am lazy. I could at any time dial the whole number if needed.

    But, I am just about the only person I know who is like this. Most everyone else in my life cannot remember numbers at all, and have the whole world programmed into their phones. That’s why I call it freakish. When I tell people that I remember numbers really well, I usually get a weird look.

  6. Oops, if I’d learn to read, I would know you said work related.( -30 day comment penalty)

  7. I am freakish too and remember phone numbers, LOTS OF THEM, I think it was from necessity I picked up this habit!!!!! Hubby says I scare him with all of the things I remember, I tell him to just behave himself and I’ll never have anything to hold over his head during a PMS rage.

  8. Back in the days of rotary phones I was a walking phone book. My parents would often ask me for the numbers of their friends. I’d like to say that it wasn’t until the advent of programmable numbers in the phone really caught on that I stopped using my freakishly large storage capacity for phone numbers but really it came crashing to a halt not long after I started grad school.

  9. I have to confess I don’t have a cell phone. Not only that, but I still write numbers down in an alphabetical contact book (in pencil so I can change them). I do have them in my Mac’s address book, but the problem with that is when there’s a blackout (reasonably often out here in the country) I can’t access them. Also, a contact book doesn’t corrupt or breakdown like a computer does either (even spilled coffee and water don’t affect it too much—I just leave it in front of the fire or iron it dry).

    When I was doing more mainstream work some years back, I did have a cell phone and Palm V but I lost contact numbers and addresses several times due to various failures. My old contacts book was a godsend at times like that.

    And now that I’m out in the boonies, trying to lead a low-energy life, there’s another advantage of the contact book and pencil. It’s doesn’t consume electricity.

    The final advantage of the contact book is that even after 25 years, I still haven’t replaced it. Try saying that about a cell phone!!

  10. Ha! I refuse to get a cell phone, so I don’t have any phone numbers to input or recall. So there. :-~
    of course, I have no one to call and no one calls me, so it doesn’t really matter. 😦

  11. Everyone in the world that I have ever even considered calling (and have a phone number for…alas, Johnny Depp has been lax in giving me his digits) is programmed into my cell phone.

    I have very few numbers on speed dial because I can never remember what number is for whom…except my voicemail and my parents. I even forget which one I put my home number on.

    It is vaguely irritating to me on occasion that I end up pushing more buttons scrolling through my contact list than I would have pushed just dialing the number in the first place. However, I continue to do this…even for numbers I actually do know by heart. One of the oddities of being me.

    I also have one of those little address books where I keep the phone numbers. Not sure why, if I have them all in my cell. Probably for the “just in case” reason.

    To sum up and answer your original query, you are not the only person to give this more than ten seconds’ thought. 😀 mk

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