Monday, November 15, 2004


I live in L.A. where it's not unusual to see someone walking around with a phone stuck to the side of their head having an animated conversation. More recently, with the advent of earpieces I see people walking around appearing to be talking to themselves, holding the little microphone piece close to their mouth so the person they're talking to gets a consistent volume level as the walking talker moves quickly down the sidewalk, or drives their car, or runs on the treadmill.

Those people disconcert me because living in L.A. I also find myself standing or walking next to the schizophrenic homeless population who also walk along and talking and waving their arms. The difference being that they don't have phones, though some of them hold their hands up close to their mouths - cupping the secret transmitter and making sure that "they" can't hear.

Not that long ago I was in a doctor's office and a guy came in and sat down. The waiting room was quite crowded and he took the seat right next to me. My personal space bubble is not that big, meaning I'm pretty okay with people being in my personal space, so I didn't really think anything of it. I just kept reading my book. When he started talking on his hands-free phone and getting agitated I felt a little bit of anxiety, but they called my name so I didn't have time to think about it too much. As I stood, I looked over and noticed that he didn't actually have a hands-free cell phone. He didn't have a phone at all. He was most likely talking to the voices in his head and when I thought about it I realized that he never checked in at the little window. He just came in and made a bee line right over to sit down next to me.

Why do the crazy people always sit next to me?

I'm not a fan of cell phone use for myself personally, but I have friends who use them as their primary source of communication. One of my best friends has taken me along via cell phone to concerts and other events that I couldn't attend because, well they were in other states. Or countries. It's pretty cool when she does that, although I was once at a Wilco show and I saw Jeff Tweedy, who normally doesn't really talk, totally flame on someone who was holding up a cell phone. I would've hated to be the person on the phone having that experience.

The other day this same friend was talking to me as she went to the bathroom. Like I said, this is one of my best friends, we have that pee with the door open level of friendship. As she was speaking, all of a sudden - midsentence - I heard her voice receding. And then I heard a splash and from a distance, as though I was at the bottom of a well, I heard her say, "oh shit!"

I'm thinking, "Why, I do believe I'm in the toilet! I have poop POV!"

The next thing I heard was the scruffffle, scruffffle of paper towels.

"Did I just fall in the toilet?"
"Yes - I didn't want you to know! I was holding the phone between my shoulder and my ear and it slipped out and went right in the toilet."
"That was weird."
"Well, I hadn't flushed yet."
"Um, eeeeuuuww, for some reason that makes it weirder."

Wow! Another novel experience provided by the wonders of innovative technology!


No comments: