May 11, 2005

Shut Up! Shutup Shutup Shutup Shutup Shutup SHUT UP!!!

I just realized what exactly it is about cell phones that make me want to kick users in the shin real hard. First, here are a few reasons I was already fed-up with public yammering.

Could it be any ruder to continue your conversation with Cathy Babbles-a-Lot on the phone even while interacting with friendly counter people? We complain that customer service has gone down the crapper and then we show so little respect to those serving us, we don't even give them our full attention for less than five minutes. No one wants to hear about your boring day of endless meetings because, you just said it, THEY'RE BORING, and if they're boring to sit through, that's right Einstein, it's even worse hearing about them involuntarily!

And how fucking dangerous is it giving the person blabbering in your ear about what's-his-name more attention than cars and pedestrians on the road while driving? I can't count the number of times a car has rolled into a crosswalk, swerved into my lane or just blown through and intersection all together, and as I pass I see there's a shitty piece of plastic infused to their goddamn heads. And don't even try to tell me ear buds make a difference. If your attention is on the conversation, it's not on the road.

And finally, if I have to be audibly bullied by your gossipy conversations while confined on a bus or BART, I just wish I could hear BOTH sides of the conversation. Who? Who? Who did they catch her with in the laundry room with? And what is he keeping from her until after their vacation? Inquiring minds want to know! At least with a couple of loud talkers you can pass the time by eavesdropping.

But it dawned on me today what the real irritation is for me; that people are filling the air with their hollow words and generating useless energy. I know that thought alone is a powerful thing and people are emanating an energy whether they're shouting about tonight's dinner plans or not, but sound carries and resonates, and most conversations I hear could SURELY wait until they got their asses home. And yes, it's a given that when you're in public you subject yourself to the myriad of lives converging in close proximity, but at least before people thought they couldn't spend a single minute alone with themselves and decided to use every spare moment chatting idly about absofuckinglutely NOTHING, you could walk down the street with your own thoughts, observing, embracing or rejecting the kaleidoscope of energy swirling around in close proximity.

Now I'm just forced to listen to, "Well I want to talk to you about something else as well but I'm not really comfortable discussing it on a crowded bus", hee-hee-hee laugh, giggle, snicker. No, no, no, don't hang-up now! You're just getting to the good stuff. I just had to sit through fifteen minutes of little Billy's throw up incident, and how great you though Blade 3 was. Please, please, please at least carry on about something that will satisfy my impertinent little mind. Although impertinent is highly debatable when someone is screeching about their dope new, car-stealing, prostitute-killing video game at the top of their lungs in a 30 square foot space.

And I don't feel hypocritical at all admitting that I am a cell phone owner. I have no objection to the concept at all. I have mine for emergencies, coordinating rendezvous, my lonely grandma in Illinois, and the painfully rare possibility that I might get the chance to talk to my nine year-old brother who lives in Virginia. The most you'll hear from me is a hushed, "I'm out of the tunnel, pick me up at BART", or a non-intrusive, "I'll call you back in a minute, I love you Grandma". But most usage I encounter appears to be a pathetic crutch. I mean, it's not like it can be a status symbol anymore, everyone has one. Hang-up and listen to the birds. Listen to the rhythm of traffic. Smile at passers-by. Slow down and absorb your surroundings or get lost in thought. But stop bumping into people because you’re so engrossed in a selfish monologue. Just shut UP already!

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