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Tuesday, September 29, 2020  

CellfishPublished 9/16/2009

I am ashamed to tell you, but it is true, that I do not shrink from salty language. I have a great fondness for big, chunky, earthy Anglo-Saxon words. I don’t know why, or how I developed this unattractive trait. I blame my parents, really. Not because they are at fault so much as that they are convenient. Sorry, Mom. My point in making this confession is that if you, like me, don’t mind the occasional expletive you can insert any of them that you know just about anywhere in the text of the following diatribe with confidence that it will be just what I am thinking.
And what I am thinking about is cell phones. I hate them, hate them, hate them. I just got home from the post office where some fella named Bob was in line behind me. "Hey there Jerry!" he bellowed, "This here’s Bob! Yes Siree Bob! That’s me! That’s cuz I am a Can Do Man! Need it done, call me, Bob! Yes Siree Bob!" I was screaming internally by this time. I was dizzy with the effort it took not to turn around and fling the little package I was mailing at Yes Siree Bob’s head. I smiled a tight-lipped smile at the man behind the counter. He looked concerned. Either that or he wanted to fling something at Yes Siree Bob’s head too.
Bob moved past me to the next clerk. His cell phone conversation continued and he made me hate him even more when I saw him look at me from the corner of his eye, smirking. He was wondering, I am sure, if I thought he was a big shot, hot shot, king o’ comedy, salesman tycoon. He was imagining, I betcha, that I was fascinated, riveted, hypnotized by his booming banter. "No," I squeaked, "no stamps today," and I fled.
I hate cell phones! In the days before cell phones you might see a beautiful face in the grocery store and imagine a whole life for that person. She had been unlucky in business, but lucky in love. She had a faraway look in her eyes because she was dreaming of her sweet darling who waited for her across the sea in his family’s ancestral castle. Or that stooped old lady over there might be a once famous poet and beauty. That man might be a secret agent and that one a genius chemist. But not anymore. No! Now you can be privy to anyone and everyone’s private telephone conversations and, AND, you will be disabused of any fantasy of glamour and mystery because of it.
The great beauty with the hooded, limpid eyes and the graceful, delicate movements will dial that cell phone with fingers that remind you of ancient Chinese porcelain and then will open her mouth and utter the most banal, irritating drivel in a voice that sounds like it needs a big ol’ shot of WD-40. The old woman will answer her phone and you will sigh to hear her kind, gentle voice. You will long to hear this voice next time you have a fever and will consider asking her for her number so that you can call her the next time you have one and be soothed. Until she says, "Well, I don’t know hon. Shoot him in the head, I guess, and throw him out in that ditch back there." Eee-yew! That cannot be a happy situation!
The secret agent will be heard to say, "Wait a minute. Wait. Tell me again. What was that. Wait. I don’t get it." And the supposed genius chemist will be heard to call his wife an ugly name right there in the express line.
Not only have cell phones pretty thoroughly destroyed my fantasy life but I am no longer able to tell who is insane. It used to be that you could tell who to avoid because they would be muttering, or conversing, or shouting at nobody. With the advent of the little tiny phone that hooks to your ear, well, forget it. Either everybody is insane or nobody is, but it is all certainly driving me that way.
Plus those little tiny phones have caused me a huge embarrassment and I hate to be embarrassed. I saw a person at work the other day who I had not seen for some months. I was thrilled to see her and began to chat. A little while into the conversation and I began to get worried. Her side of the conversation did not seem to make much sense. I was busying about doing some things and she was sitting at the desk while we chatted, using the computer. I thought she might be a little distracted because she was busy looking something up. But really, her remarks seemed completely random to me. I am pretty quick though and struggled to keep up as we bounced from one subject to a completely different one. Then I noticed that she was holding up her hand to tell me to wait, while she asked a question and waited for the answer. And there it was, the little tiny phone hooked to her ear. She had been talking to somebody else that whole time while I had been buzzing around her like an agitated gnat. I gave her my post office smile and left the room so she could finish her conversation in private. I hate cell phones.

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