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.

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