This week had a rough start here in New Jersey. Something like 80% of the state lost power, and we were no exception in our household. While we don’t have a landline, we do have cell phones, and were extremely grateful to never lose signal, even as cable and then electricity dropped. Our neighbor across the street wasn’t so lucky, and she barely had enough signal to send text messages. My parents somehow managed to keep both cable and AND electricity, but they had intermittent landline and cell phone issues all day.
However, the one lesson I took from this storm was that we need a landline. Despite my parents’ intermittent issues, we could keep in touch with them all week on their regular phone line. And friends who lost power but had plain old telephones could still make calls and stay looped in to the world. Hurricane Sandy damaged quite a few cell towers, not to mention the widespread power outages. It seemed like every other status update on Facebook between Tuesday and Wednesday was “Sitting in my car charging my phone”, and while yes, it’s important to keep cell phones charged, having a landline takes away the emergency need to keep a cell phone charged or else…it’s back to being a convenience, and not the main source of communication.
While watching the local NJ news station, every time they flashed a local number you could call to get news if you lost power, I wondered who would bother wasting precious cell phone battery life on a news call. It didn’t occur to me that someone with a landline doesn’t have this problem!
I haven’t had a landline since college, but this week has taught me that maybe it’s worth a few dollars a month for the peace of mind in a disaster. After all, we pay more than that for insurance, and a landline is handy even if nothing goes wrong!
(In the interests of maintaining a happy marriage, I feel compelled to add the following disclaimer: I spent all day realizing how important a landline is, and when Sarah came home from work I told her my conclusion. Her response? “Duh. I already decided we’re getting a landline. This isn’t news.” So clearly, one of is the smart one in this relationship, and it’s not me…)