Wednesday 19 May 2010


I am not a phone person, never really have been. I’m sure over the years this has infuriated many people in my life, especially with the advent of cell phones. I think I found landlines hard enough to deal with, but there was that added luxury that you could not rip them out of the wall and take them places (although many have tried). With the advent of cell phones for most it meant freedom. For me, it meant prison; their mere existence meant that I no longer had a choice in the matter. Now I was operating under the pressure that when people called me, their phone call must be answered, cause a) they know - or assume - the phone is with you, and b) if you don’t answer it, they figure you are avoiding them. This of course does not take into consideration all the valid times you really cannot answer the phone (and mom, I swear, I really am in the shower when you call me!).  I have been caught many a time by people calling me, without me knowing they are nearby only to have me decline the call. It’s not personal I swear, but I do have my reasons.

Firstly, I grew up with a father who was obsessed with the phone. He was always on it, and if he wasn’t, he was about to be. And of course in the 80’s when the cell phones came onto the scene and weighed about 10 pounds, he’d drag that thing around like a dog and use it as much as humanly possible. It came on trips, to the dinner table, outside, inside, hell, he’d shower with it if he could. Now in his defense, it was for his business, and one could make the argument that it was a necessity. But to a child, it was this needless appendage that was attached to my father’s head, and I knew there and then that I didn’t want have a relationship with any such device.

Don’t get me wrong, in my teenage years I did my fair share of needless rambling to my girlfriends (on landlines people. Yes I'm that old), and even now, a call from one of my sisters can last a lifetime, but even then I get shouted at by various family members and friends for never answering my phone. They utter the universal logic: ‘but you have a cell phone?!’ As if this explains everything. It does: I’m stubborn, I hate it, let's move on. One of my sisters calls twice, sometimes three times in a row, cause she’s smart like that. She knows, that eventually I’ll figure out where I put the damn phone and answer it. 

In a way I think cell phones have bastardized communication – I know I’m in the minority on this one as most think it’s the greatest, most unifying invention since the wheel. But for me, it’s taken a good thing and beaten it within an inch of its life. Now people use it when they don’t even have to, ‘hey, I just called to you know…say hi.’ Great, fabulous, you’ve done that. Can we get on with our lives now. Or while driving (my favorite), cause you know, manning a 2 ton killing machine isn’t responsibility enough, let’s throw a phone into the mix and see what happens to your driving skills.  And of course kids use it - or shall I say overuse it - like it's some sort of toy - does it disturb only me that they make toy cell phones for three  year olds? Soon enough there will be cell phones for dogs that operate in dog frequency so they can chat to their mates about important stuff like fleas and how to keep their coats healthy. Seriously, nothing would surprise me.

Trust me, I’m guilty of needlessly using it sometimes and I’m not proud of it. There are many times when I call my partner just out of boredom (I'm always early everywhere and have time to kill). Or of course when I’m lost - like he's some sort of human map. Cause you know, it's an 'emergency' and then I can see my way clear to use it. 

Then there is the utter breakdown of privacy and decorum; those that think it is appropriate to use this annoying little device anywhere. At a romantic meal – but of course, a perfect time for a phone call. In the middle of sex – ‘oh honey could you wait a sec, that’s my cell phone’ (I’d kill my partner if he even tried this). And those who just flat out don’t care what those around them think – they talk on trains, buses, elevators…and not only do they talk, they scream, laugh, cry, even fight to the death with their partner, so that the entire public knows their business. Seriously, if I wanted to hear that drama I’d stay home and watch Jerry Springer. Get a hold of yourselves people! The worst are those that are on their cell phone as they’re out walking, but you don’t know this cause they have on those little headsets, and as they approach you they’re talking, staring right at you. Then you have that moment where you think you’re either being rude by not responding to this strange person, or you’re contemplating how mentally ill they really are and where the nearest escape route is.

And now of course these little space invaders are getting more invasive by the day, cause that's the joy of technology!  They’re smaller, fancier, shinier…they play music, schedule your life, take photos, hell, soon they’ll be cleaning your house and cooking your meals. Although, at that point I would gladly surrender especially if they would put the duvet cover on the duvet and dust the blinds. I'm not totally against progress.
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