Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Here is my rant against cell phones.

If you know me, and you probably do, I hate these things. I've also been promising (threatening?) to put together a coherent diatribe summarizing my thoughts on this subject.

So, here it is.

1. A lot of people are annoying when they use them.

The subway, the grocery store, walking down the street, standing in line at the VD clinic — people use these things everywhere. I suppose that's what they're for, really... but if you're talking, we can all hear you. Most of the time, it goes like this:

OKAY, YOU WANT THE SHREDDED CHEESE? ... THE SHRED— ... SHREDDED CHEESE. YOU WANT THE SHREDDED CHEESE? ... YEAH, ALRIGHT. HOW MUCH? ... HOW MUCH OF THE SHREDDED— ... YEAH, HOW MUCH? ... I DON'T KNOW, THE TWO HUNDRED GRAM BAG? ... THINK THAT'S ENOUGH? ... IS THAT ENOUGH? ... I DON'T KNOW, IS THAT ENOUGH?

...and so on. Studies have now shown that we find these half-conversations so annoying because our brains are apparently wired-up to pay special attention to stuff like that. Or something. I don't know, I was talking and texting and sipping a Starbucks pretentioccino or some shit when I was driving and listening to the CBC when this story came on.

As for texting, I always find it funny (terrible?) when two people are out to dinner with each other at a nice restaurant, and both people are looking down, typety-typing away on their little doohickeys. Do you seriously need to send that text message right now?

2. Do you seriously need to text/talk right now?

You probably don't.

Really.

You don't.

Seriously, that shit can wait.

There are exceptions, of course, and this is the argument I always hear:

What if you're driving down the 401 and it's the middle of nowhere and your car breaks down and a rapist is following you?

I've driven more miles on the 401 than any sane person should ever be subjected to. Fortunately, my cars have been mostly reliable (exception: The Deathcar towards the end of its stay with me), so this hasn't been a problem. But, I'll play tiddly-winks with your straw-man.

For years, people have had cars break down on the 401. And for years, people managed to (mostly) not get raped by the side of the road, or while walking to the next exit to get some sort of help. Why are things so much different today?

If I'm a long-haul trucker, I'll get one.

That's a promise.

3. It'll turn you into a douche.

Well, it might. Here's what I mean.

Once upon a time, before supposed continual contact between people, you told a person, "Hey, I'll meet you at the corner of Jarvis and Wellesley at 10" — and, because neither of you lived near the corner in Toronto where one would mostly likely acquire the services of a prostitute, it'd take a little time to get there.

So, let's say you were to meet at 10. If it takes half an hour to get there, that means you leave at 9:30, and after then you can't be reached. You're supposed to be at Jarvis and Wellesley at 10, and if you're late, that means the punctual one is going to have to make small-talk with the hookers for however long your ass is late.

But, here's how things appear to have gone.

Since people can call each other anytime, that has given quite a few of you carte-blanche to be late. Really, why would you bother being on time? Everyone has a cell phone, so if you're late, you call the other person because you can, and then hey, everyone's fine-and-dandy and you get your hookers and you go have your fun.

However, I've seen what effect this has on teenagers, and it's not good. Not good at all.

They have cell phones, because overprotective mommy and daddy want to make sure their little Billy/Susie/Parminder isn't getting strangled in some alley, which likely won't happen. But, of course, they use them for everything (including texting in class — you know how much I must love that, eh?), and they get in the habit of being late for each other.

...which means they get in the habit for being late for class. It's amazing, how many exchanges I have along these lines:

Me: You're late.
Kid: No I'm not.
Me: What time is it?
Kid: 10:28.
Me: Class started at 10:25.
Kid: That's only three minutes.
Me: Were you here when the bell rang?
Kid: C'mon, I'm not really late.

This "I'm late, but I'm not late" paradigm has only really popped up in about the last three years, when kids really started getting into cell phones. Is this a coincidence? Maybe it is, maybe it isn't — but I think you know what side of the argument I fall on.

That's enough of a rant for now, I think. There are likely other reasons, but none of them come to mind presently. That being said, I give it about three years and I'll probably crack and get one.

And I blame you.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I hear you man! Or, at least, I used to... I once shared your fears of the evil cellphone society.

But one day, you may say "What the hell, let's try one." Then you get a cell. Then nothing in your life changes. You will not like or hate cellphones more or less than before, there will be no big epiphany, there will be no big revelation. Nothing will change. You will simply realize that a cellphone is really just like the old phone, but not tied to a wall. You will over time in a very painless way find that having objects not tied to walls is sometimes convenient, like it is convenient to not have plates or jeans or magazines or coffee mugs tied to walls. You will not stop being annoyed by annoying cellphone users, they are abound. You will not be embarrassed or feel you need to justify your previous anit-cellphone attitudes. You will simply find yourself with a phone not tied to a wall. It's really that simple...

I am not a cellphone convert, I just enjoy not having my things tied to walls.

With warmest regards,

SPTM