Saturday, December 09, 2006

Haranguing up

You know, I've complained about cell phones before, but I think I'm due to unburden about cell phones yet again.

First let me say that I have an abiding appreciation for the ways cell phones enrich our lives and make things so much easier. I have a close relationship with my parents, and I know it was stressful for us all when I would go on a road trip to visit grandparents in Arkansas by myself as a young woman--I would be out of touch with mom & pop, and they'd wonder how I was getting along on the road. Now there is no being out of touch - dad can call me on the road, or I can call him if I need to chatter someone to sleep. *** See footnote Of course, in the event of emergencies, that emergency services may be instantly summoned is of immeasurable value. There are probably too many good features of cell phones to name.

However, some of these same qualities render cell phones an extraordinary annoyance. Was it Plato who said something like one's very best qualities, unchecked, would act to destroy one? One of the good things about leaving the house used to be that you got away from the telephone. One could do their thing and not have someone hectoring them to give a blow-by-blow of their daily routine. Apparently, when people dial someone else up, the first thing they say is "what are you doing?" and then the person responds. I have overheard countless people in restaurants answer the phone and say "Hello. Nothing." Well, no, you're not doing nothing--you're eating in a restaurant (in some cases with a date) and you're disrupting other diners, jerk! Once in a Record store, a guy next to me answered his phone "Hello. Making a baby. What are you doing?" When in every case, the appropriate response would be "I'm talking to you."

On Tuesday I went into the restroom at school. This is a big modern facility with a row of about 10 stalls, and I proceeded to the handicapped stall, or, as I like to think of it, the executive stall. I had a bag of crap for my class, my purse and a coat, so I folded down the diaper station and stacked all my stuff on it. Then a chick came into the room spewing a rapidly babbling brook of spanish. At first, I thought she was two people, and then I realized as she entered the stall next to mine that she was on a cell phone. Blah blah blah, shut the hell up, lady. She could have taken any of the other 8 stalls not right next to me, but nooooo. So I'm putting on my coat and gathering up my things and I hear her peeing like everybody's business as she's chattering along. So I flushed the toilet about 4 times in a row, just to put my 2 cents' worth in. It never seemed to break the flow of her conversation. I guess when it came to talking to this friend, she simply couldn't wait.

As i griped once about the annoyance of cell phones, my English friend Rosie laughingly agreed what rude devices they are. Her nephew, Murray, was on a train from London to York and as soon as the train got rolling, an American man's phone rang and he proceeded to carry on a protracted business discussion with the person at the other end. Murray got up and approached the man and said "Excuse me, am I going to have to ride the entire way to York in your office?" and the American said "Yes." Murray, steamed, grabbed his coat and stormed off to another rail car. In York he realized he'd left his briefcase on the overhead rack of the first car, and of course it was gone when he went back to retrieve it.

Cell phones: meh.

[I have chattered dad do sleep, more than once. Like me, dad is a night owl and has trouble turning his brain off, so I consider it a mark of achievement that the dulcet qualities of my voice have enabled a tired man to get some much-needed rest. tee hee. I'd be talking along about whatever silly thing was interesting to me at the moment, and I'd hear his breathing, slightly raspy and very even. Awww, what a lamb! He's so sweet when he's sleeping! I'd just leave my phone off the hook so he could hang it up when he woke up, that way he wouldn't be jarred awake by that awful "your phone's off the hook" tone. Mom is always mad at him for running the juice out of the cordless phones. I suppose she should be mad at me, even though I haven't talked dad to sleep in a while.]


Just Another Old Geezer said...

Talking while she was peeing? I can't hardly stand to talk to a guy at the urinal next to me,let alone on a frickin' phone. And yeah, I carry a cell phone. But the only time it is on is when I'm out and about without my sweetie. With her health problems, I want her to be able to get me immediately. When we are out together I carry it for outgoing emergency calls, not incoming let's shoot the shit no matter where we are 'cause we're the only ones that matter in the whole wide world calls so it's off unless needed.

And when it rings, I know it's mine and there aren't a dozen people checking 'cause we all have the same smarmy song or whatever ringtone. See, mine is an old fashion klaxon. Like a diving alarm on a submarine, you know?

phlegmfatale said...

g bro - Aw, shucks! You're just saying I'm a doll because it's true! hyuk!
Glad you can follow from ridiculous to sublime, because most people think there's no connection and I'm just looney-toons. Yes, E! should definitely hire me.
I don't blame HOlly for not discussing it, but I've been brewing up a big ole pot of Britney roast for a while, and it should come to a steamy head any minute now. Maybe tomorrow. watch this space, and thanks for reading - glad ya liked it!

myron - See? A capable man doing what it takes to take care of his Mrs.-- THAT is the appropriate use of a cell phone. It's all about the love, baby!
Do you know, if we ever meet, I've got to do my klaxon imitation for you - remember that I'm operatically trained? - I also do a superb peacock and lately I found I can do the Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy. I love Tchaikovsky! Anyway. Yeah, I'm a spaz.

Klaxon has got to be an awesome ringtone. Since I got my blackberry, I no longer have the Sanford & Son theme song by Quincy Jones. I need to look a new one up. Love that song, and everyone smiles when they hear it.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

You have touched my heart with this post, as I despise cell phones. I only carry one if there's a chance I will run into travel problems and then I usually find out that I've run out of money or batteries anyway. I think this probably says more about me than it does about the value of cell phones, but whatever.
LOVED that you flushed repeatedly!!! You are my hero now.

phlegmfatale said...

barbara - wow - kindred spirit!
Thanks for the affirmation on the flush thing - I debated whether to even post this rant, because I thought the multi-flush thing would forever cement me in someone's mind as a galloping lunatic. Then again, I was early and had a few minutes to kill before class.

Just Another Old Geezer said...

Got to thinking about the flushing thing. I personally think you should have put your classical music training to use doing a Meg Ryan fake orgasm bit. Loudly. That might have gotten her attention, huh? said...

Great post! Too bad it won't be on the evening news, all channels, until the mad obession stops!

My wife's sisters think I'm awful because when they call, even the home number, and I answer their "what are you doing" question with "Answering the phone." I guess they want me to lie to them.

Darkmind said...

I would prefer that you were a galloping lunatic, then I wouldn't feel so out of place! You keep your phone line open until your dad wakes up? Your cell phone bill must be OUTRAGEOUS!!

phlegmfatale said...

Oh, and g bro - I'll move you to the top of my dance card for the next go-round, okay?

myron - *LOL* Yeah, I SHOULD have. I'll bet she would have dropped her transmission over in the next stall, or at least blowed a gasket if I belted out a heapin' helpin' of "Freude, schöner Götterfunken". Next time, I will.

phlegmfatale said...

mushy - Glad you like it. Oh, and you know what else I've noticed lately? 9 times out of 10, when I see someone run a red light, they are on a cell phone. They should be pilloried! I think the sisters-in-law deserve to be frustrated if they are that silly!

darkmind - I see we're swirling down the same drain together, darling. Oh, the phone line I kept open was the regular house phone with no charges for local calls, regardless how protracted. Also, we're on the same wireless carrier so we have free calls between us.

Meg said...

Cell phones, to me, is necessary evil, like my dentistry - I would rather live without it, but failing that, I will tolerate it in small doses: mine or anyone else's. Mine's such a crappy antique anyway so the other party can't hear very well what I'm saying at any rate.

I did have, however, one terrific train trip in Tokyo, where, on one Thursday late afternoon, for the entire 90 minute trip, this one scrawny-looking guy was looking for a date for Friday night. He must have saved EVERY woman's phone number he could get because two-thirds of the calls he made he had to start with the circumstances he met the girls and from whom he got their phone numbers. (And I wouldn't remember him under most circumstances he described.) And then he so casually mentioned he'd be in HER neck of the town on Friday, etc., etc, etc. Every few girls hung up on him, every three or four calls, he changed the scenario or tone of his voice; after Girl Seven I stopped counting, but by around Nine, I was struggling not to laugh, as were quite a few women on the train. He was tenacious, and unashamedly loud. By the time I got off, he was still looking for a date, and I almost felt sorry for him. Nowadays, of course talking on the cell phone is banned on most trains, so you don't get that kind of entertainment.

Have fun planning, cooking, decorating, and appreciating your residents. You are a real gem, Phlegmy.

Attila the Mom said...

Ha! I am so there!

What kind of freaks me out are people who walk around with the phone headsets. They look like they're mentally ill and talking to themselves.

Anonymous said...

I used to get freaked out by the ones with the earpiece and tiny microphone. I saw a guy on the shuttle bus laughing and alking loudly and I thought he was an escaped mental patient.

I was waiting for the cops or the men and white coats to come get him when I noticed the thin black wire going into his jacket pocket.

I don't like public cell phone gabbers much. Quite rude and self absorbed.

Anonymous said...

I consider a cell phone to be an electronic leash. At one point in my professional career I had to carry two cells and two pagers. No wonder I moved along to another employer.

Oh, the diaper tables in the stall in the men's room makes a handy place for me to place my CCW or tactical man-bag while I' know.