Thursday, June 22, 2006

Some things are too convenient.
I'm all about communication. In addition to this space on the internet, I regularly use email (a few addresses), our phone (Voice Over IP. Long distance was meant to be free.), message boards, smoke signals from the back yard, two different instant messenger programs (in case of the failure of one of them) and, as a last resort, a cellphone.
I'm still uncomfortable using the cellphone for extended conversations. I'm concerned about being lumped in with "those people."
You know the ones . . . chatting away obliviously in a crowded restaurant, ignoring the people nearby or even at their own table.
I prefer to keep things at the "I'm (somewhere), I'll be (somewhere else) in (whatever period of time) and can work on/talk to whatever/whoever then. Bye!" kind of level, and there are places where I can't or won't answer, either.
If I'm walking to my car, I don't answer usually since I'll soon be juggling car keys and an MP3 player and entering traffic. Just starting my car makes a weird series of beeps and tones and loud music or podcasts that prompts "Is this not a good time?" questions.
I imagine it sounds like I'm averting some time of international incident in the background. I might be, if it is a very tiny unimportant kind of international incident involving the latest news about a science fiction TV show cancelled years ago.
I don't answer if I'm having an in-person discussion, unless I think it is someone looking for directions to where the discussion is taking place.
I also won't answer if the cellphone is "too far" or if I'm in the middle of a long email, online article, or blog post.
Sometimes I'm also too annoyed by my own ringtone to answer.
These are all bad, since I rarely get voicemail and it is always undated when it finally turns up.
I will answer during meetings, even if I know it is a telemarketer. I can fake a concerned look and walk out. That may be the best use for a cellphone, really.
Here is what I don't get:
Why does everyone not have these basic guidelines? Does every call need to be answered? How important are these people that I have to stop talking on elevators because they are having trouble hearing on their cell?
I'm not comfortable with the social standard being set in favor of these people. Naturally, the instinct seems to be to lapse into silence when in the company of someone involved in a cellphone conversation, or at least speak in the hushed tones of a library, church or nursing home.
Of course, this silence leaves a person with nothing to listen to but someone else's cellphone conversation. These people should make it interesting for the rest of us. I want to hear, "So I stashed the money in an abandoned building at . . . " or "I found out about this awesome free ninja school where you can major in assassination and minor in piracy. Here is the number . . . " or even "Cut the red wire, but don't bump the black one or . . . Hello?"
This morning I had the experience of being forced to listen to half of a conversation about our new product line and about how our technical staff could accomplish half a dozen impossible things a week at no additional cost and about how much the "relationship" meant to this particular salesperson.
I heard the lies and was still societally forced to remain silent. While he couldn't see me from where he was sitting, I made gagging faces in silence and silently stomped around in frustration, waving my arms like a lunatic while this guy closed his deal smoothly and solidly.
Then, before he could finish his call, I flushed every urinal in the men's room and slammed the door on my way out.
Today, justice felt swirly.


Anonymous said...

"Alice laughed: "There's no use trying," she said; "one can't believe impossible things."
"I daresay you haven't had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."
Alice in Wonderland.

Pamela Moore said...

I'm one of those people who tends to answer the phone wherever. Didn't used to be. I guess I took one too many calls from my boss. At least we call each other worthless pieces of shit and laugh loudly.

Then there was the day I took the cell phone call from my sister while I was at the airport and I wound up telling her the story of the free porn I was gifted in pole dancing class. That was choice.

I do, however, draw the line at the bathroom. I won't take the phone in there with me and I bitch at my boss when I find out he's taken my call to the can. Some things are still sacred.

Andrew Moore said...

I think "Flush out the Cellphones" could become the new "Save the Bulwarks". Today, as I find myself in public johns, if someone is on his cellphone I pledge to flush every unattended toilet and/or urinal in protest! Heck, I may even flush a few attended toilets!

Vive le Revolucion!