I’m heading to Geneva, IL today to do a presentation at a preschool, then speak at the Geneva Public Library. Geneva is about an hour west of Chicago – Hanni and I will take a commuter train there. My friend Jenny from The Bookstore in Glen Ellyn, IL will bring books to sell after my library presentation, then she’ll take me back to the train station (after stopping somewhere to visit over a glass of wine/beer, of course!).
Anyone living in the 21st century would figure that all these arrangements would require me to own a cell phone. I do. But I rarely use it. I know how to make a phone call with my cell phone, but without being able to see the screen, I only call people with phone numbers I know by heart. I don’t leave my phone on when I’m out an about with Hanni – I need to concentrate on her, I can’t be distracted by phone calls. I use my phone to collect voice messages that I listen to later, and I call 1-800-555-TELL (that’s the “Tell Me” number) when I’m out and about and need to know a baseball score. Other than that, my cell phone lies dormant.
I’ve heard of three companies, Code Factory, Dolphin, and Nuance that have products to make some high-end cell phones fully accessible. If I used a cell phone with this specialized software, I could attach headphones to my phone and listen to music, read text messages, even surf the web on my phone.
Gee, I’d be just like everyone else on the commuter train to the suburbs!
One problem, though. Price. The special software for these phones can cost around $300 or more. I’ve also heard of a screenless cell phone made especially for the blind. Without a screen, there is more room to make the buttons distinguishable from each other.
Supposedly all of the functions on this Owasys phone talk. something tickles me about having a cell phone without a screen – what a novelty!
For now, though, I’m happy to pack my regular cell phone and leave it off for the train ride to Geneva. Instead of text messaging and calling my friends on the hourlong ride, I plan on listening to a book. Maybe talking to the conductor. And definitely petting Hanni.