Can You Hear Me Now? Good. Go to Hell.

I hate cell phones. Actually, that’s not true. I love my cell phone. I easily rank it above both sliced bread and the discovery of fire as man’s greatest innovation. If stranded on a deserted island, I’d take my cell phone before I would pack clothes or a sandwich. I can’t think of a single invention that I’ve become more attached to than the cell phone and that includes porn. I guess the thing is that I hate everyone else’s cell phones. Yes, even yours.

It just seems that the luxury of cell phones somehow compels mankind to forget basic courtesies. The most often-encountered cell phone interruption is the mid-class cell call. You’ll be minding your own business, surrounded by learning and education and whatnot, and all of a sudden, a horrid polyphonic rendition of Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love” blasts out of someone’s Nokia. I don’t know about you, but I have plenty of trouble trying to fall back asleep after an interruption like that. And it’s so disrespectful to the professor, too.

Another cell phone etiquette taboo is when people invite the public to listen in on their private conversations. Why do so many people like to break the peace and solitude of a 15 second elevator ride by sharing their conversation with everyone else on board? While riding down after a long day of work, a woman behind me dials up started talking cutesy. I couldn't tell if she was potty training her toddler or freaking retarded. "Mommy loves you. Yes she does. Yes she does. Nanoo nanee. Na na na, Mommy yes yes."

Which brings us to the next point of caller courtesy. We need to realize that it isn’t just ourselves using the phone. Cellular communication is a two way street. Let us be respectful of our callers as well as those around us. I couldn’t possibly list all of the dos and don’ts, but here is a couple to get you started.

  1. Do not take part in bitter break-ups or otherwise volatile conversations while in public. I’m pretty sure that the rest of Market Street is in agreement with me in not giving a damn that your caller deserves “to rot in hell for all eternity” or that she’s “the biggest whore in town.” By the way, what was that phone number again?
  2. Do not answer your phone while using a public restroom. You know the sound a phone makes when it rings? That’s the sound of trust being established with the party on the other line. I shouldn’t have to mention it, but that trust involves one’s expectation that you do not have your pants around your ankles while talking to them.

Another travesty of modern technology is the latest and greatest cell phone accessory, also known as the “hands-free” earpiece and microphone. Walking around the grocery store, I see countless individuals with no phone or companion in sight, yet speaking loud and clear with a finger pressed to their ear. All I came here for was a box of Fruity Pebbles and suddenly I’m surrounded by the damn Secret Service. “Blue team, this is Rogue Pigeon, I'm in position. I repeat; I'm in position. I have the package. Wait- do you want barbecue flavored or mesquite? Because you know that mesquite makes me gassy.”

Walking the streets of Philadelphia, this hands-free technology is making it harder to distinguish the local crazies from the technologically elite. Many a time I’ve found myself walking around campus when the guy next to me suddenly starts talking to himself: "Yeah, hon, I’ll be home right after I pick up a loaf of bread at the store... FOR THE DARK LORD!! Okay, no potato bread. I know, I know." I can’t tell what the hell is going on anymore.

Another troubling result of cell phone use is people who use their cell phones while driving. And by “people” I mean anyone who owns both a cell phone and a car. Isn’t operating a vehicle in excess of 70 mph enough of a task? I know I have a hard enough time concentrating on road conditions, finding my exit and maintaining control of my recklessly speeding vehicle without worrying about being the 97th caller so I can win a free Y-100 thong. It always makes me a bit nervous to see some guy fly past me at the speed of light as he simultaneously attempts to chat on his phone, change the radio, drink coffee, put on his Top Gun bomber sunglasses and solve a Rubik’s Cube.

I’ve also noticed that some people who allow cell phone calls to interrupt them while in deeply serious conversations. One person will be sharing intimate details and serious personal troubles when all of a sudden the other asks them to “hold that thought” so they can take this all-important call, despite admitting that they have “absolutely no desire to speak to this person right now.”

This wouldn’t fly if it were attempted in person, so why would it be okay with a phone? “You failed your economics test and got fired in the same day? I’m so sorry. I didn’t know they could repossess a puppy. That’s awful. I don’t care what he said; I don’t think you’re the biggest whore in town. That’s really- Wait. Hold that feeling of emotional abandonment for just one second. This kid is giving me an hour-by-hour account of his five day fishing trip in West Virginia. I’ll get back to you when something less interesting comes along.”

I realize that there are plenty of adjustments that need to be made when embracing a new technology. Many of these adjustments counteract what we consider to be in our nature or challenge a way of behaving that we’ve grown incredibly accustomed to. The best way to deal with- shoot, I’m getting a call. I have to go. Besides, I’d better end this article soon or else I’m going to miss my exit. I’ll text you when I get to class.

No comments:

Post a Comment