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Cell phones

03/01/02 12:00AM

I love cell phones. I have a soft spot for the tiny faceplates that come in fluorescent pink, silver, leopard-print, (and now red white and blue). Just one glimpse of its liquid crystal display is enough to make me go weak in the knees. And I love the feel of a cell phone in my hand, that small weight that falls so naturally into the curve of my palm never fails to summon a shiver of pleasure. I'm not alone in my adoration. Cell phones are the accessory of my generation.

Alas, unlike almost every single one of my peers, I do not own a cell phone. There is a hole where I should be full, there is a sense of emptiness where there should be a warm hum, and there is silence where there should be a familiar pop tune ring.

I am however, saving up. The day I own a cell phone will be the day I can say I've truly arrived.

Cell phones and teenagers couldn't be a more perfect match. Not only can we choose from the most current faceplates, but we can also choose which song we want it to play when it rings. Big Pimpin, Beethoven, 1812 Overture, Britney Spears, Aretha Franklin. It's techno without being intimidating. My own favorite song can greet me when a friend calls. And if I'm feeling fickle, it can accommodate. Every day, I can be greeted by my new favorite song. How could that be intimidating? It's so cute, and it has my friends on the other line. It's amazing to think that something so tiny and sleek can be so fast and powerful.

This is the innovation that we grew up with; sure, we're awfully comfortable with computers, but Generation X grew up with those too. No one else has had cell phones. Nope, we're the first ones to have the privilege of a youthful acquaintance.

Now, quite honestly, I would avoid giving my cell number to my parents. I want to avoid their calling at all hours to check up on me. I wouldn't need to worry about them calling from their own cell phones though. Cell phones are my father's nemesis; they are the enemy of what he considers his 'privacy.' I don't get it. Being unreachable is more my nightmare than my fantasy. Most vital social happenings are spur of the moment, and if you can't be reached, well, you're not invited.

Teenagers have built an almost 24-hour social cycle, that includes cell calls, I-Ming and emailing over the Internet and to be detached from that while everyone else is still locked in, well, it means being out of the loop, which is the ultimate social misstep.

The Consumer Reports in-depth cell phone service cover story left me a bit uncertain as to which provider would best fit my needs. But anyway, before I commit to a provider, I really have to pass the first hurdle - picking a color.

I've already decided that he's going to sleep right next to my bed, and I've named him. He's going to be my little C.P.

This is Alia Stavrand Woolf of Charlotte, Vermont and Troy, New York.

--Alia Stavrand Woolf is a senior at the Emma Willard School in Troy NY.



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