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What Are We Talking About?

Cell phones are everywhere; Lucy wants to know what we're saying that's so important.

Cell phones are everywhere and it seems that everyone has them, from older adults down to 3 year olds. It’s only been 10 or 15 years since they became a universal commodity, yet it seems that none of us can live without them. Does anyone remember when a trip to the store armed with a list was all you had? No one could call and add to it; yet we lived and made do.

Yikes! When did I turn into an old lady talking about the good old days?

Of course, the kids wanted their very own cell phones. They began to show up on the top of both Christmas and birthday wish lists. Matt and I couldn’t figure out what tweens could possibly use cell phones for other than games. We had a perfectly good home phone. So, we told them that when they saved their money, we’d take them to buy whatever phone they could afford.

We’re living proof that kids are amazingly thrifty when they want something bad enough. Within a month, both girls had the newest cell phones. And what did they use them for? Games. That, and to text each other even though they were in the same house and most often, the same room. It took us a while, but we finally caught on that texting is this generation’s version of passing notes to each other, usually to complain about us.

Today, it’s as if we have to be in touch with everyone for any reason all the time. I recently overheard a woman talking to her friend about a soap opera. Well, at least I hope it was a soap opera. If not, then I am now complicit to a murder involving the head of a hospital, his third wife, her lover, a second cousin, and somebody’s step-daughter who just got out of her third stint at rehab, who may or may not be the lover’s cousin’s sister.

With half the population of people on the phone 24/7, you’d think they were doing important things like negotiating for hostages. Most times, the conversation is trivial; and it makes people in the service industry crazy.

While standing in line at a bank, a woman had several deposits, a withdrawal slip, and a bag of coins she wanted counted. In the middle of the teller’s questions, her phone rang. She answered it, and proceeded to say, “No, I’m not doing anything. What’s up?”

The teller grabbed the lady’s phone, told whomever was on it that she was actually very busy, that the woman was incredibly rude for implying that she wasn’t doing anything, and hung up on the person. Bystanders erupted into applause.

Of course, that was all in my head, but wouldn’t it have been awesome if it had really happened?

When we owned our restaurant, people would walk in the door with the phone in their ear. They’d pause, tell us what they wanted, and then it was right back to their important call. Heaven forbid, we had a question about what they’d just ordered. We’d try to get their attention, but they’d hold up their finger as if saying, “Wait a minute.”

Since no one in the family is serious about much, we’d just laugh and say stuff like, “Look, that thar’s somebody from the future with one of those new fangled communicatory deevices!” (said in a hillbilly accent). Then we’d ignore them until they got off the phone.

Increasingly, cell phones have made us an increasingly rude culture.

In line at the pharmacy, I saw a woman speaking on her cell. I thought it must be a very important conversation, as when the assistant began asking her questions about her allergies, the woman held up her pinky. Not even her forefinger, her pinky. Surely she must be on an important phone call; either that or she doesn’t concern herself with small things like providing life-saving information about possible adverse reactions to medication.

Turns out, she was having a heated conversation about where to go for dinner that night because after the day she’d had, there was no way she was going to cook. Personally, judging by the pharmacist’s face, I’d have been more worried about surviving my next dose of medicine.

The problem people may not have thought about when having one-sided discussions in public is that while they may be having a normal conversation, we’re only hearing part of it. You may be celebrating a positive test for pregnancy, but trust me, the person overhearing your conversation only hears two words – “tested positive;” and assumes the worst.

It’s amazing how quickly people can run to avoid contracting whatever it is you just tested positive for.

Then, as if the Silicone Valley Gods hadn’t had enough fun, they came up with Bluetooth. Or, as I like to call it, the harbinger of our Star Trek future.

The cruelest irony, however, has to be that while most of the population is chained to a cell phone speaking to every person they know, most businesses have gotten rid of humans answering theirs.

Beam me up, Scotty.

You can follow Tamara Kells, The Brunette Lucy, on Facebook.

Maria Garcia July 16, 2012 at 06:51 PM
I really hate it when people are yapping away or even worse texting while driving. It's really dangerous and even worse than DUI. For those of you who still do this here is a video showing how dangerous it is: http://www.paduiblog.com/pa-dui/is-it-legal-to-play-angry-birds-while-driving/
Daniella July 16, 2012 at 10:17 PM
Also, even when people aren't talking on their cellphones, they are constantly using them. Everywhere I go, playgrounds, restaurants, movies, etc. - you look around and there are so many people just typing away or tapping on their phones (I must admit I'm sometimes guilty myself!), but the thing is, these phones are preventing us from engaging with our environment and those around us like we used to. No matter where we may be, our attention remains on this electronic world...its sad when you think about it.
Linda Costello July 16, 2012 at 10:53 PM
I was in the pediatricians office with my daughter and a woman with a baby about 3 months old was talking away on her phone. The baby was crying and crying while strapped in her stroller and the woman was annoyed that she could not hear the person on the other end of the phone. I felt so sorry for that baby who only wanted her mother's attention. My main pet peeve is when people talk on their cell phones while watching their children playing baseball, etc. I have to get up and leave the bleachers in order to enjoy the game. Don't they realize that many people are listening and are annoyed that they can't give their full attention to their son or daughter on the playing field? Also, they are not paying any attention to the game or their child. I don't get it.
Tamara Kells July 17, 2012 at 01:07 AM
I'm so glad that I'm not the only one who is annoyed by this! Thank you so much for letting me know what you think.
Pamela July 23, 2012 at 02:26 PM
the worst was at my duaghter's high school graduation. While we sat on the metal bleachers in the hot blistering heat, a woman actually sat talking on the phone. I guess that conversation more important than her kids' graduation...

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