Tuesday, June 08, 2004


Or at the very least a manual of etiquette. Cell phones have turned people into a mass attack of the uncouth. I say this, of course, as one who doesn't really enjoy talking on a regular phone, much less a tiny little device with even tinier buttons and bad reception. I feel that phones are really not conducive to great conversation being that you cannot see the person you are talking to which leaves you clueless as to the subtext carried on in nonverbal communication.

I think that telephones are best utilized for the exchange of information or the giving of news followed by a brief discussion and an arrangement to meet and have a real conversation. That's what I use my cell phone for: I'm late, I'm lost, I'm in trouble, or I'm here where are you? I must admit that cell phones are awesome when you're meeting someone and you can't find them - especially at the airport.

But most of the time my friends use their cell phones to call me because they are driving in their car and they are bored. I doubt very much that they are aware of this, and many of them might say, well I'm so busy and when I'm driving it's the best time for me to catch up with people. To this I say "bullshit". And I say bullshit because they don't have anything to say when they call me, usually when I'm at work and the conversation goes something like this:

Me: Hello
Them: Hi - what are you doing?
Me: I'm at work, so I'm working, writing, staring at the ceiling trying to catch an idea.
Them: Oh.

And then they launch into some story or other blather that doesn't really interest me and only serves to occupy them until they arrive at their destination. I had a friend who used to do this EVERYDAY! Sometimes twice a day. We don't talk anymore and I must admit that while I miss him, I don't miss the bullshit cell phone conversations I used to endure that always ended with this line once he'd arrived at where he was going, "well, I've gotta run, I'll let you go." It was like code for alrighty then, I've goteen where I'm going without having to spend a second alone with my own thoughts so I'm hanging up now.

It seems to me that a lot of people wander around Los Angeles talking on their cell phones because they think it exudes an element of importance. Like they're in demand! They're a mover and shaker baby! Things are happening in their careers and they're "taking a meeting on the go!" I'm a huge eavesdropper and I can tell you that most of the people walking around screaming into their cell phones are talking about nothing of any consequence. Even those who are using them for business are pretty much not talking about anything.

I worked for a man who used to do the "I'm driving and I'm bored so I must talk ont he phone" thing. He'd call me and then have me place calls to people who were either not available, or not doing anything and they'd have the most ridiculously banal conversations. I'd feel like screaming into the phone - please put the top down on your insanely expensive car and turn up the stereo and enjoy the day! Or how about this novel idea - pay attention to traffic. I do not get blabbing on a cell phone and giving a running commentary about how bad the traffic is that you're driving in, or how some guy just cut you off and you almost got killed.

How's this for an idea? - hang up the fucking phone and just drive! I don't care that you're driving up Hwy 5 and you're bored. I know it's boring. That's what book on tape are for, for Christ's sake!!

And why, why, why do you keep calling me back when you're driving through an area with crap reception? We weren't talking about anything important - you're just bored! Don't keep calling me back so that you can lose your signal and I can sit there yelling, "can you hear me? Are you there?" into the phone.

I wish I had a sorting system on my telephone where callers would have to listen to a recording that would give them the following options:
Push 1 if you're returning a call and need to respond with requested information.
Push 2 if you're calling to make a plan to see me.
Push 3 if you're calling to ask a question that you need an answer to immediately.
Push 4 if you're lost and need me to look up directions on the computer for you.
Push 5 is you're just calling to shoot the shit, if so the first words out of your mouth should be, "is this a good time to talk?"

Because maybe it's not. Maybe it's a day like today when I'm riding the hormone highway and may not be capable of civil speech over the phone. I love my friends - I just don't always want to talk to them. Especially about nothing!!

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