Once upon a time there was a telephone world without voice mail, answering machines, or caller ID. It was a world similar to Jean Auel's Clan of the Cave Bear, but with a black rotary dial phone on the geologic kitchen wall. Ayla couldn't talk on the phone without all the Neanderthals eavesdropping on her conversations.
In Auel's sequel, The Valley of Horses, Ayla didn't much need a phone since she was completely ostracized from the Neanderthals. She still kept paying for her landline though, since it only cost about seven bucks a month for local service.
Eventually, Ayla learned to ride a Paleolithic horse and appreciate the freedom of a cordless phone. Plus, she was raising a cave lion in her home, so it was good that she could call 911 for medical emergencies.
Ayla had trouble deciding between that reality tv fan-fave, Jondalar, the sensitive Cro-Magnon guy, and Ranec, the talented old black & white movie channel mammoth hunter/artist, (the son of a flint-knapper). She was working overtime with her shaman mentor, Mamut, concocting herbal-enhanced inner self-guided tours. The Mammoth Hunters was a good book for Ayla to discover caller ID, answering machines, voice mail, and anonymous caller-blocking.
Nowadays, Ayla lives in the Valley of Duplicate Services. She is tired of paying AT&T and Verizon for the same services. She's still an excellent slingshot markswoman, and she's seriously disgruntled with the complex billing procedures and incomprehensible statements for each and every type of telephone service. She's still got that trained killer cave lion living at home, so don't make her angry.
© 2008 Nancy L. Ruder