Cell Phone Etiquette

You know what really burns the hair off my ass?  It’s not the economy, the loss of jobs, the stupidity of the general population, the cost of Medicare or whether people who earn over $250,000 per year should pay more taxes.

It’s cell phones.

Cell phones and the resulting decline in our lifestyles as a result of the f’ing things being thrust on us.  Yes … thrust on us.  Sure, we have a choice.  We always have a choice.  But to buck the trend takes far more willpower and character than I’m willing to invest in my life.  And from the proliferation of the Gizmos I’m not alone in thinking that way.

To sum up the situation, one of the multinational-ruling-oligarchical-out-of-control companies hits it right on the head when they send some geeky looking nebbish wandering onto my TV screen shouting into his cell phone, “Can you hear me now … Can you hear me now?”  Yeah, dirt-bag, I can hear you now.  And that’s the problem, you freaking nebbish geek.  Oh, BTW … lose the nerdy grayish-black windbreaker.  They went out of style in the late 50’s right after the Eisenhower jacket.

I vote not to participate vicariously in the miserable f’ing lives of people.  If I want to know about your student-of-the-month six year old son, under aged pregnant daughter, pending divorce and how you’re going to royally screw your ex, I’ll ask you.  I’ll call you … maybe even invite you to join me and have drink.

But, don’t count on it.

I’ve concluded that the people who walk around sharing their miserable lives with us as we listen to their cell phone conversations are the Jerry Springer-New Jersey Housewives-Reality Show rejects.  Their situations are too miserable to be exposed to the general public via television.  So instead of not knowing about them or hearing their miserable little petty low life problems, we arm them with a device that allows them to batter down our doors of privacy and pour their personal shit into our laps – without an invitation.

Put a stamp on it, mail it to me and if by chance it’s delivered I may decide to open it, read it and then possibly send you a response.  Otherwise, drop me off your list of people who you think wants to hear about your miserable life and problems.  And save yourself forty plus cents – soon to be more.

I’ll bet AGB, the miserable bastard that started this whole thing on March 10, 1876, is laughing his ass off watching us from his own special ring in Hell.  A ring specifically reserved for people who did not think of unintended consequences to their puttering around in the garage and coming up with a “brilliant new invention which will undoubtedly improve our lives.”

You may think I’m over reacting to the situation.  But, please hear me out.  Don’t hang up.  Don’t throw this in the trash.  And don’t put your fingers in your ears while rolling your eyes and dangling your tongue out of your mouth saying Nah-nah-nuh-nah-nah.  Just see if any of these situations have become a part of your life … uninvited.

At first it wasn’t too bad when you had to have a cord to make a cell phone call.  We thought we were so cool we could talk while we were in our cars with the few people who also were wired.  In fact, we called the Gizmos, “car phones.”  Calls were infrequent since the phones were used primarily for conducting business, very few people had the damn things, and “bundling packages” that allegedly gave you “free minutes” had not become the business practice.

Then women (wives) discovered they could call hubby and ask him to bring home milk, pick-up the kids, oops I forgot bread … make sure what time he would be home, did he take out the garbage before he left, the dog’s at the groomer could he pick-up the dog.  In-short, she could harass him without being blocked by the receptionist or his secretary, who both were hired primarily for the purpose of blocking.

Then we “lost the wire,” became wireless and our cell phones went wherever we went.  To promote access and slyly introduce us to no privacy at all, companies started “giving” us great quantities of minutes to use our phones.  Their commercials showed everyone with a phone, planning social events, hoarding their minutes for fun talks with friends and classmates, worried parents checking on kids in college or traveling to and from, and with special deals pushing the use of the #%*& phone into our weekends.  All were more and more invasive.  They were down right insidious, evil bastards.

Then with competition, phone plans became more affordable and the number of phone users sky rocketed.  Towers were installed on every piece of available real estate including your neighbor’s back yard, church belfries, small town water towers – whatever space was available for lease. You could use your phone almost anywhere except the Grand Tetons, the Lincoln Tunnel and Promontory, Utah – where the east truly met the west.

And so here I am now, bombarded daily with life sharing idiots, ninety percent of whom think they must yell into the device to ensure that their voices hurdle clearly and magically thousands of miles to their destination without regard to me … standing or sitting less than three feet away.

I’m in the john the other night in an upscale restaurant standing at the urinal when a guy strides in stands right next to me and starts a conversation.  Thinking he’s addressing me for some odd reason, I glance over and start to answer him when I see an appendage in his ear that makes him look like Seven-of-Nine, the Star Wars Borg … only not nearly so sexy.  This son-of-a-technology-bitch is pissing with one hand, flushing with the other, and never misses a beat in his conversation.  Give me a break.

Unfortunately, my chance meeting with piss-talking guy was topped.  One day I’m minding my own private business while doing my private business, when a guy enters the toilet stall next to me.  The door slams shut and he starts a dump while talking loudly over the plop-plop of his gravity driven turds.  OMG, I thought I was going to puke.  I wondered if the person on the other end of his cell phone new just how great a multi-tasker this conversationalist was.

Here’s a question.  Why do people wait until they get into their car to make a call?  I can’t tell you the number of people I spot pulling out of their driveway, cell phone glued to their ear.  Make your call inside.  You can use your f’ing cell phone inside.  It works when you’re in your house.  Then get in your car … and drive with both hands.  Puh-leeze!

Cell phone etiquette is really pretty simple.

Assume no one else wants to know your personal business.

Do things one-thing-at-a-time.  There’s new research out that totally debunks the myth of the multi-tasker.

Drive with both hands and concentrate on driving.  You made it through a lotta years when you just drove.  Ok … some of the time you were stoned when you drove and it worked out for you.  But you were lucky.

And don’t ask me if I do all the above.

6 thoughts on “Cell Phone Etiquette

  1. That is one of my all time favorites! It is so true and I laughed through the whole thing! I am off to read more!!!

    • Thanks Carla … All of us enjoy your raucous sense of humor, especially Rani! I started with “Cell Phone” because I knew it was one of your faves … mine, too.

  2. How true, Richard! how true. And you overhear so many conversations at an airport. I have had to listen to a man breaking up with his girlfriend, a woman breaking up with her girlfriend, and a manager firing an employee, all while waiting in line to board an airplane. Puh-leeeze!

  3. And I remember when conversations were private … Oh my … do I sound like an old fart or what?

    I think the cell phone is a great tool in many ways … however, i also think the people using the cell phone as a great tool are “great tools” themselves … Yes, that was an insult to those who assault us with their private lives.

    I think it all started with Reality TV … everyone fights for a moment of public drama.

  4. I think you should tape this rant, Richard, and walk around playing it full blast on a great big boom box. Oh, wait, that’s another problem – boom boxes and car radios!

  5. Boom boxes were dead in the late 70s, oops … Where you been?

    And … a couple of years ago, a guy in Jacksonville unloaded a dozen shots into an SUV in the parking lot of a 7-11, 4 black teens in the car … killed one guy in the back seat and then tried to say he thought he had a gun” and claimed the “Florida Stand your Ground” law. He’s in the pen for more years than you want to be.

    Roll up your windows. Your car has A/C doesn’t it?

Comments are closed.