Yesterday, on an excursion to the local 7-11 to purchase the Sunday newspapers, I counted 34 people using cellphones.
That's a round trip of 12 miles.
1) motoring in their cars and chatting while kinda watching the road;
2) yapping loudly in the store for all to hear; and
3) walking along the road with said cell devices attached to their heads.
I have a cellphone. It is usually off. I use it if I must: to let someone know I am going to be late, or if, in the future, a mighty Bug breakdown occurs. As one who just finished a trip cross country, I think wireless telephony is a good invention. I understand many people have cellphones instead of land lines. According to researchers The Yankee Group, some 60% of long distance calls are made on cell phones. It saves money. I also understand cellphones are used to conduct business. I am all for that.
But I have a question.
What is the deal with being so constantly connected and letting everybody else on earth know about it?
I am not a fan of rudeness. I do not want to be subjected to your cellphone conversation. It is none of my business. And I think it unrefined beyond comprehension that some folks pollute the public air with constant recreational chatter. And for some business folks out there, I wonder how many of your fellow countrypeople are truly impressed that you are a titan of industry. Many times I have walked through an airport to have a gentleman walk up beside me, seemingly talking very loudly to himself. I thought he had just gotten off the boat from the third ring of Saturn, and considered finding the nearest net to drop over his head, only to discover that he had an earpiece connected to his cellphone and was commanding the troops from the hinderland. A real pro receives a call and wanders off to find a quiet corner away from people to have a discussion. Am I wrong?
I think my departed Mom woulda been a cellphone hellion.
Back in the old days, when I first came to the D.C. area after graduating from college up north, my folks were kind enough to allow me to place myself under their roof for a spell, 'till I found a job and had saved enough dough to get my own digs. I did find employment, and one late afternoon, my mother called me there, requesting I bring home a gallon of milk.
My mother was a real estate broker, and not afraid of using the phone. She also had a lead foot when it came to motoring an automobile. Many times she would roar by you in her brushed gold Cadillac with the tasteful brown top at a pace so fast it would melt your face, her hair perfectly coiffured, with a couple of prospective customers onboard looking downright terrified.
I stopped at a High's Dairy Store. I was waiting my turn in line, holding a sweaty bulbous container of milk, when the phone rang behind the counter. The cashier, a bored high school student answered, then inquired of us, standing before him, "Is there a Mary Gillen here?"
What? I was perplexed. As I placed the receiver to my ear, I said the only thing that came to mind:
"Hi Mary. It's Mom. Do me a favor? Can you go next door to the pharmacy and pick up my prescription?"
"Mah, you're calling me at High's."
Before I could say another word:
"Thank you. See you when you get home."
Great. I handed the phone back to the young man. I was embarassed. 21 years of age and my mother was calling me at a convenience store. The other store patrons eyed me suspiciously. I finally had the chance to pay for the milk, then booked it on outta there.
I went next door to the pharmacy. I stood in line to get the mater's meds when I heard the phone ring.
"Mary, your mother's on the phone," said Stan, the pharmacist.
"Mah, you are killing me. These are the last words you will ever hear me say. You are killing me."
"I need you to pick up your father's dry cleaning. I am not killing you. I am saving you a trip."
Jackie Gleason. To the moon, Alice.
I did not pick up my old man's dry cleaning that day. I went home with the chubby tub of milk and meds in the passenger seat, ready for a showdown.
My father was getting out of his car in the drive when I pulled in. I told him what happened.
"Ah, she did that to me once. I hung up on her."
I bet if my pop was still alive and had a cellphone, it would be set to OFF too.