I have always viewed myself as a strange person, but there is one characteristic that causes me to view myself as an anomaly in today’s world: I have never owned a cell phone. That’s right; I have functioned for 22 years without giving people access to me 24 hours a day, and I have no plans to change that.
I feel no need to continuously identify my location to relatives or friends. In fact, I take delight in being anonymously assimilated into the crowd everyday. It’s a relief to be unplugged from the technological world while I go about my errands. Besides, I’m not that important, and I’m not 12 years old.
However, I feel my peers have betrayed themselves by whoring their limited time to individuals not even in the same zip code as them, all the while fattening the wallets of executives at Sprint and Verizon. My generation is neglecting the people who are actually around them for the sake of mental security, or even worse, pretentiousness.
As an outsider constantly looking in at the situation, I feel I can offer some advice to cell phone over-users (if you want to call bitching and complaining advice), or at least just elucidate how a semi-Luddite like myself functions in today’s self-centered culture.
The daily routine.
When I’m at work, school or running other errands, I’m not available. Period. There is a reason I’m not available: it’s because I’m busy. I already have enough trouble dealing with 17 units, running my own club and staying awake late enough to watch “Family Guy.” I don’t need to be bothered by some idiot calling to ask what I’m doing because he can’t deal with his own thoughts. My life is not so boring that I become elated every time someone calls me. That is what television is for.
When I’m spending time with my friends, it’s because I want to interact with real people, or at least tell the latest fart joke to a receptive audience. While the fact that some of my friends show more enthusiasm talking on the cell phone in front of me than talking to me may say something about my personality, I’m willing to bet that it’s just rude. That is why I refuse to do it to them. If another friend wants to talk to me, he will have to wait until I have the time to get back to him. By that time I will have thought of another fart joke.
I think people have forgotten the definition of this word. What used to be a private conversation at home is now part of the public forum. When I’m in line at the supermarket I don’t need to hear the results of the rectal exam from the degenerate behind me, nor do I need to hear why he’s pissed off at his girlfriend for contributing to his test results. I keep my medical records and relationships private. Other people should too.
This isn’t even a problem. I’m not so important that I need to call everyone every time there is a problem. If for some reason I do need to call Triple-A or AA, I’m willing to walk or stumble to the nearest pay phone. Besides, if I need to make a call immediately, I’ll just borrow a cell phone from the nearest person and run up his phone bill. And if I’m in real trouble, the kind doctor at the hospital will remember to call my family after checking my ID, as will the generous coroner left dealing with my stinking carcass. This is really just a fiscally sound plan. Let them pay for the call. I’ll save the seven cents. You may be laughing now, but we’ll see who has the better casket.
Mike Siciliano can be reached at email@example.com.