So far I've been able to resist this cultural transformation, but I know the day is coming when I'll have to get a cell phone. Luckily for me, it's still considered slightly sketchy for a friar to have one.
It certainly seems convenient to be able to reach people and be reached on the go. On the other hand, it makes me sad when I constantly see people blabbing on the phone while ignoring the children they have in tow. I was on a shopping trip with another friar when he decided he needed to have a half-hour conversation on his cell phone, leaving me to communicate about possible purchases through gestures and facial expressions. On the subway, where people used to read or sleep, we are now introduced to everyone's private business.
It's definitely a transformation. You notice it in the movies, how people didn't always have cell phones.
When I was a chaplain in a psychiatric unit one of the head psychiatrists once remarked that he though the invention of the cell phone had done more than anything else to lessen the public stigma of schizophrenia. It used to be that someone walking down the street talking to themselves was odd and frightening. Now everybody's doing it.