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Still Waters: Cellular addiction

Posted: Friday, Jan 11th, 2013

Following up with a woman who wanted to hire a local photographer for an event, I called the cell phone number she had given me to let her know I had found someone who would be willing to shoot the event.

“Now is not a good time for me,” the woman said when she answered my call. “I am just leaving my mother’s funeral.”

My first response was to apologize and tell her she could call me back when it was a better time.

My second response, after I hung up the phone, was, “Why would you have your cell phone on at your mother’s funeral? What the heck?”

If there ever was a time to turn your cell phone off, I would think your mother’s funeral would be it.

Good grief!

Many folks these days are literally joined at the ear with their cell phones. Better than American Express, they “don’t leave home without it.”

People talk and text in all sorts of public places, seemingly unaware of anybody else around them. I was waiting in line at the pharmacy the other day, and a woman behind me was talking on her cell phone presumably to a friend, and she was giving the friend the low-down on some no-good so-and-so who had done her wrong. Her language was “colorful,” to say the least. If she had been a TV program in my living room, I would have turned her off. Unfortunately, I couldn’t turn her off or even tone her down.

I probably know more about her personal life than her mom at this point.

Folks are often talking on their phones in the grocery store aisle, in checkout lines, in bank lobbies, in fast food lanes, in restaurants, in doctor’s offices, at their work stations, gas stations and any other station imaginable.

Who needs a party line? Everybody’s conversations are public now anyway.

If someone from another century dropped in, he would think we were all nuts, going around talking into the air.

I have heard phones go off in some very inappropriate places like funerals and church services. I understand someone might forget to turn a phone off or put it on vibrate, but what’s worse, the person will answer the call in church and start talking to the person on the other end of the line.

One place cell phones are expressly forbidden and will not be tolerated is the courtroom when court is in session. A cell phone going off in court will be confiscated. I remember one time when an attorney was before a judge during a hearing, and his cell phone went off. He made the mistake of answering it right in front of the court. I thought the judge was going to deck him then and there.

Sometimes I wish I had that kind of power over cell phones, too. I would have quite a collection of confiscated phones if that were the case.

I do own a cell phone, which for economic reasons is the only phone I have now. The most time I spend on it is Sunday morning when I talk to my mother in the comfort of my living room with a dog beside me on the couch.

It’s not attached to my right ear, though. Sure, it’s handy to have, and yes, I have answered it in the grocery store occasionally.

I just hope I would have enough sense to turn it off during my own parent’s funeral!

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