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don’t play, quit actin’ celly

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I published this article in the Chanticleer, along with my Seussical article. It was originally several thoughts that were supposed to be a blog, but instead I made it into an opinion piece for the paper.

Now hear this…

As someone who uses her cell phone every day, even instead of a house phone, I understand and appreciate the value and importance of a mobile phone. I know that there are some people out there who say that they hate them or wish they’d never gotten theirs, but not me. I love mine; I never leave home without it, and I feel terribly disconnected if I don’t have it on me at all times. It is my communication tool, my camera and my watch.

However, I must to stop right here and say that there are certain rules that go along with possessing a cellular phone. Recently I have found myself in several situations in which I want to turn around, rip said miracle invention from a person’s ear and smash it on the ground into a million little pieces.

Some places are sacred when it comes to using a cell phone. I happen to think that the library is still one of those places, right up there next to churches and hospitals. (Probably church is first purely because of the God thing.) It still amazes me that people think that their conversation is so contained just because no one can hear the voice on the other end of the line. It’s all whispered words and silent glances in the hospitals until someone pulls out their cell phone. “Yep, it’s cancer….no, can-cer….yeah, he’s gonna die. What? No, I said CANCER. Cancer.”

I was simply standing in the library, using the free access to the internet to check my Facebook and MySpace accounts since the cable had yet to be connected at my own dwelling. All was well until the girl behind me started yakking. Apparently her stomach was hurting “real bad,” and she wasn’t sure if she wanted to go to her history class. She continued on with her conversation at about three decibels above what is even considered normal for an average, everyday inside-voice. And this went on for a while. I mean, a looooong while.

By the time she was finished, I knew that she was debating about whether or not to go to history (because she already knew a lot of that “stuff” – “I mean, it’s like, common sense stuff, right?”) and that she had eaten some sort of food item that made her stomach go “grrrrrrr.” It was all I could do to keep from pulling some sort of antacid tablet out to give to her.

Another time that I felt accurately informed on a state of affairs that probably was none of my business occurred at our local Jacksonville Wal-Mart Supercenter, and the subject matter was little bit more serious. As I stood in line with my 10 items or less, the woman behind me seemed to be either consoling or notifying her phone friend. I picked up on the conversation at this time:

“I mean, it’s just so sad, you know? One minute, it’s like their mom and stuff, and then the next minute, she’s dead. How do you like, recover from that? I mean, she’s dead. Dead. Deeeeeeaaaaaaaddddddd.”

Okay, maybe the last word was a bit exaggerated. But said woman was dead as a doornail from what I gathered. And it was sad; I also gathered that as well. But it went on, and on, and on. I honestly felt as if she was waiting for me to turn around and ask more about the details or inquire as to what address I could send flowers to, she was so loud. I didn’t sign up for this – I just wanted to pay for my Cosmo and my Snickers bar and go home.

But no. As I left, I was then burdened with this dead woman and her three little kids that had to face the fact that “their momma is never, ever comin’ home.” Thank you, ma’m.

The worst of all the mobile phone devices would quite possibly have to be the Blue Tooth device. I don’t know much about it, and I don’t have one. But the most startling thing is to be standing next to someone in the grocery store, trying to select a delicious bunch of bananas, when they burst out with, “HEY! What you doin’?” I either think that the person has a spasmodic speech disorder or they are talking to themselves. I’m sure this device comes in handy in the car or around the house, but please limit the use of such implements when traveling out in public. It’s just plain weird.

I’m not asking people to discontinue their cell phone use. It’s so much more than that. I’m just politely suggesting that mobile phone users exercise a little public awareness and employ a bit of cell phone etiquette. That’s all.

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