I know, I know, you think I’m going to bash cellphones. That I’m some Luddite wishing the world were a simpler place. Hearken back to the olden times when polio was flourishing and the median life expectancy was that of a fruit fly.
But it’s not like that. I like technology. I remember the days I’d have to leave my house to find out if it’s thiamin or thorazine that’ll knock you on your ass. Hell, even in recent memory there was a time to find that information I’d have to trudge from the living room to the other side of the living room to use the computer to find that out. Now I just have to pick up a cellphone.
Cellphones can guide you somewhere; help you purchase thiamin or thorazine; let you play games; text a friend halfway across the globe to ask them what time it is where they are; find out if it’s thiamin or thorazine you want to buy. And what’s that other thing it does? Oh yeah, let’s you talk to people.
And therein lies the problem.
What is the need to have a phone to your ear the moment there’s an alone moment? I’ve known a guy for five years. I can’t tell you if he even has a right ear. There’s always a phone pressed up against it. I’m thinking he doesn’t have an ear. That he’s using the phone as some cloaking device. That he’s embarrassed because his ear looks like a crispy, burnt up leaf.
At least I hope that’s true. Because if it’s not that guy has a serious problem. He actually thinks he’s important enough or has a level of wisdom that people need to hear every moment of the day.
Less than an hour ago I had three different people walk into my office because, one would assume, they had something to speak to me about. Each one of them, while entering, had a phone pressed to their head. Each one of them, after entering, held up their free hand to wave me off as if the deli guy is with someone but wants to assure me he knows I’m there. And these people, who I may or may not want to talk to, came in to my office specifically to speak with me. And they put me on finger hold? Well, that makes me want to whip out a finger of my own. If you catch my drift.
See? It’s not the cellphone or the technology I have issues with. It’s the talking. I’ve been told I can be an interesting conversationalist. Many people have commented positively on my rapier like wit. But there is no way in hell I think I’m so interesting I have to call someone the moment I’m alone to let them know about the wonderful beef stroganoff I had.
But I seem to be alone in this fight.
It’s a sickness that tells the people you’re with that you’d rather be with anyone else in the world at this moment. My girlfriend and I were invited to someone’s house for dinner. Just the three of us. How cozy. We’ll really get some in depth conversations going. But the moment the hostess completed her story and someone else began talking she’d reach for the phone. I couldn’t believe it. Is that the way of the world now? Invite over the people you least want to converse with then spend the night talking to your real interests?
I don’t carry a cellphone with me. I know! How dangerous! What if I’m in a accident? How will the authorities be summoned? Do you know how many pre-cellphone accidents I’ve been in? More than is considered healthy. Do you know how many pre-cellphone accidents I’ve been in where rescue personal showed up? All of them. Proving help arrives with or without a cellphone.
But what if there’s breaking news and we’re first on the scene? What if there’s an injustice? What if someone’s passed out on the floor pissing themselves?
Let’s take them one at a time, shall we? Do you think your cellphone footage is anywhere near that of a trained news photographer? Don’t be delusional. As far as you being on the scene first, what good is that if the footage is jumpy, one tenth of the screen and most times not focused on the event. If you see injustice wouldn’t it be better to put down the cellphone and right the wrong? As far as the last one goes, have you no common decency? I remember when friends used to help friends out of embarrassing situations. Now you plan them.
“One more shot and Cliff’ll start singing ‘Pour Some Sugar On Me’ then piss himself. Everyone! Get out your cellphones!”
When people ask me why I don’t carry a cellphone I lay it out to them. I’m not a doctor, I’m not a lawyer, I’m not going to bail you out. I’m next to a phone nine plus hours a day. If you can’t remember to call me in over a third of a day it’s not that important. Then there are the people who go all in with, ‘But what if I want to talk to you?’
Why do you get to choose? I have a theory, that I’m making up as I type, that you have a finite amount of words to speak. Hit that number and you’re done. And that number increases exponentially when using technology. So, the theory is, if you’re having a conversation with someone and you use one thousand words one thousand words is deducted from your life total. But, if you’re on a cellphone, the word count triples. Whoa! Cellphones really are killing you.
So come on people! You’re not that powerful or interesting. Put down those cellphones and drive. Put down those cellphones and do nothing. Put down those cellphones and walk into someone’s office and speak directly and immediately to them. No one needs to be connected every moment of the day. Next time you’re alone, before you pick up the phone, give yourself some time to have a random thought. You’ll be surprised at the things you’ll come up with when you’re not competing with outside stimuli.
Do that a number of times and you may actually have something to talk about.
And always remember, the person you’re calling probably rolled their eyes and groaned when they saw your name pop up on their cellphone. Just the way you do whenever you get a call.