Monday, February 27, 2006

Hang up and drive!

Okay. It's inevitable that I write about people who drive and talk on their cell phones at the same time. Well, really, I'm writing about people who do anything with their cell phones in their hands--shop, walk, read. Am I the only person who thinks this is wrong? Am I the only person in the world who thinks phone calls should be kept private?

I'm working at the cash register in the bookstore. A customer comes up to the counter to check out and his/her cell phone goes off. With caller id and call back features standard on every phone these days, I think the call can wait--unless the person taking the call is waiting on a kidney or heart transplant, how important can such a call be? I'm trying to transact business here. It's just rude to expect a teller, cashier or customer service person to stand around and wait while you talk about your gynecological exam really loudly.

I have no mercy on these people. I go through my standard script, interrupting the conversation as often as I can. If the mood strikes me, I won't say anything to the customer at all. I just let the person intuit the total and proffer the credit card/cash/check at his/her leisure. I'm in no hurry.

Or I'm in my office at the college, just working away. Other professors are teaching in classrooms around me and, inevitably, someone comes walking down the hall, talking at the top of his/her voice. The conversation usually goes like this: "What are you doing?/No./I haven't heard anything./Do you know what she said to me?/She said..." Sounds really important, doesn't it? Who the hell cares what she said to you? You probably deserved it. Take it outside, now!

Ninety-nine percent of the conversations I can't help but hear seem stupid, not life-threatening or urgent or necessary. Are we so afraid of being alone with our thoughts that we need to be connected all the time? I just don't get it. I like quiet; I like silence. I want time to think without having someone babbling in my ear.

I have a cell phone only because my parents MADE me get one. My mother's afraid that, if I end up in a ditch, the police will need my GPS to find me (not likely!). But mom complains because I never answer it. I just don't turn it on unless I don't have access to long distance to call my kids, sisters, or brothers. But, when I use my cell phone, I'm usually in my office or in my PARKED car; I don't walk or drive while talking and I hate using it in public.

I drive 45 miles one-way to work every day and 45 miles back home when I'm through for the day. Inevitably, I can tell when the person driving in front of me on the highway is talking on a cell phone. The car speeds up and slows down, alternately and constantly, and the brake lights come on every few seconds. These drivers seldom use the cruise control. Sometimes, the driver is going way too fast--I've had talkers pass me going 80 or 90 miles an hour and they seldom have enough control over their vehicles. The guys talking behind me usually ride my bumper. One thing I know for sure is they seldom pay attention to their driving; they're too busy talking.

I want to get bumper stickers for my car: "Hang up and drive!" I think I'll tape them to all of the windows of my car, set the cruise control to 55, and see how many people take my advice.

I don't want to hear other peoples' conversations, phone or otherwise. Too much loose talk flies around us all the time; people just talk and talk and talk and say nothing. Why add more hot air to my breathing space? Stick to the moment--focus on the business at hand and return the call in the privacy of your own parked car!

At least we can choose to read (or not read) blogs!

1 comment:

saltnmw said...

I, too, detest - am even embarrassed - to hear other people's phone conversations. Why aren't they embarrassed? They are so immodest, I'm surprised they are walking around with clothes on!

I've always said you have to be really important to even have a cell phone, and even more important, if someone actually calls you.

This last December I was finally forced to get one. I even recieve calls on occasion. Don't worry, not one stitch is coming off!