Tuesday, February 7, 2012


All those people on the street, talking, chatting out loud to themselves ...

It seems like a world of crazies, until I see the wire crown on the talker's head, or the plug in his ear.

It reminds me of life before people stopped smoking. Most everyone smoked. There were whispers and rumors -- smoking stunts your growth -- it's bad for you -- you might get cancer from smoking. Then came headlines, lawsuits, statistics on lung cancer. And no smoking areas -- more, and then more.

Now, smokers are frowned upon, pitied, ostracized. There are rebels -- young, non-conformist females cluster outside their offices at lunchtime, puffing away. So I edge around them or cross the street.

Okay, there are whispers and rumors about mobile phones -- about 329 million people in the U.S. have them. And fancier, more amazing do-everything phones are selling like hot cakes in the marketplace. Okay, you love your cell phone. It isn't loud and clear that they're shortening you life, or maybe killing you.

So, let's skip the life and death consequences, and just look at WHY we're using them?

Is it for communication? For buying stuff? Is it also, perhaps, because as population increases, we're losing our identities as individuals? And what makes us unique is the people and things with which we're connecting. -- no doubt about it -- the cell connects with whomever we need to communicate, faster, much easier, almost magically.

Uh oh? Is it because a cell can take photos?

In a carton I have thousands of pictures of me dancing. I don't look at often -- it's like fiddling with clothes I've outgrown. Revisiting the day, the hour, the moment in a photo, for me, somehow diminishes the pleasure of now.

But maybe for you, the phone's the book you don't really have time to write -- your memoirs.

I'm thinking that chatting on your cell phone has become a sort of a universal comforting, energizing adjunct-- a NOW-tool -- like credit cards and ATM cards have been. It's something you can do that minimizes noise, the hustle and bustle, the sense that you're just another face in the crowd -- a DO that keeps you functioning in our every-day-more-complicated world.

It's wonderful -- communicating and sharing without touching. With a cell phone's invisible connections you can visit any place, be wherever you want be in the world.

Yes. We need them. Even if our call phones are the cigarette story, they're pleasuring us and helping us survive.



Maureen Jacobs said...

Honestly, I have had a mobile phone since the early 90s. Gosh, I remember my first phone in a bag. Lol.

Regardless, the phone remains a device to be used if absolutely needed. My opinion of those carrying on conversations on phones in public is rude. Find a discreet location and proceed to talk.

In a restaurant, hearing a phone ring makes me want to scream. While dining a few weeks ago in an Olive Garden, the person in the booth behind me was connected via ear buds to his phone during his entire meal. He was dining with 3 others. If you are that rude to carry on a phone conversation while dining with others in a public restaurant, I can only imagine your behavior in other situations.

If you have a phone call that is so important, find yourself a place to take that call.

Perhaps your prediction of cell phones following the same fate as smoking may be spot on.

Ameer S. Washington said...

I don't know if it's so much that my phone is helping me survive, but it makes certain things convenient. I can check my bank account without having to go to the ATMs (safe for outdoor ATMs or having to wait to find a computer), makes going anywhere easy with built in GPS, and the games in interaction is cool. But I don't use it any more than any other phone for talking because I actually hate sitting on the phone and would rather talk to someone face to face. Truly, but of course grandma lives in Georgia, and my brother in Ohio, while I'm tucked away in New Jersey. So me make certain sacrifices to our comfort in order to keep in touch with family. Interesting blog. I'm not a fan of cigarette smoke either. And since it harms more than just the smoker, even after the cigarette has been puffed away, I'm all for them being looked down upon.

Anonymous said...

I guess I am an old fashion loner Em. I still don't have a cell phone! LOl! I must be about the only person in the world left behind without a cell phone to use. Oh well, being homebound and disabled I don't really need one. My children each have one for years and couldn't live without it. All my friends have one. I have my computer and the internet and facebook and do just fine! kam

Carola said...

I'm pretty old-fashioned about cell phones. My husband and I each own one, but we pay by the minutes, so we use them only when absolutely necessary. Recently our power was out for 6 days (no way to charge cell phones, etc.) and we were so grateful that we still have a land-line telephone.

Kaye Francis said...

I don't have a cell phone. My Grand has a cell phone. One time he tried to show me how to use it. I was 'lost'.

My Grand has many apps on his cell phone. I love him dearly, but his constant phone use & apps use drives me a little more 'bat sh*t crazy' every single day.

He's a teenager. The things teenagers talk about these days ~ gosh! (a whole lot, hard as I try not too, I can't help but hear his abundant conversations).

I even head to my basement 'peace' to avoid 'over hearing' or 'listening in'. We have a basement sitting room. Just last night at 10:45 PM my daughter is in bed sleeping & Grand is in bed sleeping, only I keep hearing someone have a conversation. It is muffled, yet it is 'distinct' as a being a 'conversaton'.

I go upstairs & check their rooms ~ daughter is sleeping, Grand is sleeping. I'm perplexed. I go back downstairs to finish my tv program & again muffled conversation. I know I have to get to the bottom of this before I pronounce 'talking ghosts' here! Ah ha! Sure enough Grand is on cell phone conversation when he is supposed to be sleeping, caught him! (See what did I tell ya about that whole g-ma going more bat sh*t crazy every day!)

The cell phone provided by his daddy was mainly for the use of making sure he stayed in contact w/ all of us & we with him. He has grown into into a cell phone social network uh "king" & Ima very sure I am not enamored of his 'kingdom'.
* * *
I no longer have to be on Wisconsin roads regularly in the winter time. The only time I ever wished I had a cell phone was driving during a 'white-out' ~ conditions were so bad, that any attempt at pulling over would put the vehicle (and us) into a farm field at best case scenario. (& even at all that simply to keep moving forward hoping you were on snow covered pavement was best a person could do.) So even if I had a cell phone to call out for help, nobody could or would have responded until after the 'white-out' passed (the storm ended.)
* * *
I understand the 'value' of having technology both the pros & cons. Forgive my 'dark heart' but currently Ima feeling 'the wrath of cons' about all this cell phone business.
* * *
SIGH! As usual you spark abundant thought upon my part & comment Ms. EM! Much love to both you & your JC!
* * *
I'm @grammakaye on twitter.

JD Cullum said...

Also, it's very hard to function in the world without one. A person without a cellphone is like someone without internet - not only left out of the conversation (so to speak) but practically irrelevant. Even folks surviving at the poverty level have cellphones.