I used to walk the streets of New York and sometimes count the number of people, in only one block, who were using their cell phones or bluetooth equivalent. It depended, of course, in which part of the city I was, but when you really look for it, it’s gross. Kids in grammar school have cell phones now. "For emergencies," their parents warn.
"But I missed uncle Jack!" Certainly emergency worthy. We did manage this long without, which doesn’t make it right. Not all technological advances are demon-spawn. Just look at the vibrator. No. Don’t. That was too easy. But I think we use them to escape our lives. Our silences. Reflection, really. People bring them to the gym, prop them onto their elliptical machines beside their towel and bottled water. Work might call. A boy might call. It’s gross.
Here’s what else is gross. I have one and rarely return phone calls. I’ve actually become horrible about it. Now there’s even more on my to-do list. Now there are phone calls I have to return! Honestly, I’ve stopped listening to them. I wait until the missed voicemails total eleven (because I love a good odd number), then I listen and return. I’m turned off by the phone and rely on it for all the wrong things. Honestly, I’m addicted to Monopoly. I play it on my phone, everywhere. And I’ll use the phone to acquire emails, which I’ll later forget I read, and they’ll be lost and remain unanswered. I’m wondering how I’d do if I just gave it up. No cell phone. I’m Jewish, so I don’t know from Lent, though I know women have given up cheese and orgasms, certainly no cell phone use would prove what kind of woman I am.
The truth is, for the most part, cellular phones are as disrespectful as call-waiting. It means whatever you’re doing is less important than whomever is calling. Nothing bothers me more than a date who asks if I mind, while he checks his phone. And the worst bit is, I’ve been that date. I’m guilty too. Nothing spells disrespect like cell.