I love to people-watch. I suppose most writers do. But we must talk about those Hands Free Ear Things. I see them everywhere. Last week, I was in the grocery store and heard a woman talking to herself.
But, of course, when I moved onto her aisle, I saw that she was actually talking into her earpiece. Her young daughter was wandering around the aisle, and finally, the woman yanked her back to the cart and said, “I’m talking! I can’t concentrate!”
I wanted to yank the plastic doohickey out of her ear and suggest that now she could concentrate…
But that would be wrong. I think.
Anyway, I see people everywhere I go wandering with a blank stare, talking to no one I can see.
I saw a woman in a fast food restaurant the other day who evidently could not manage to dress herself or comb her hair, but she could use the wireless ear device. Interesting.
Cell phones have made rudeness acceptable in our culture. I can’t count the times I’ve seen a customer ignore, or be rude, to the clerk helping them in a store or bank. It makes me uncomfortable. I’ve seen them YELL at the clerk for interrupting them, all the while they are holding up the line.
People think nothing of answering a cell phone during lunch with an old friend. Or even better, I was writing in Starbucks one day waiting for my son to finish up something. I saw a “business meeting” between two women. The one who asked for the business meeting kept answering her cell phone until the other woman got up and walked out. That was too funny!
But I’m sure you all have seen this too. What’s the deal with these people? My husband thinks that cell phones have become a status symbol. Look at me, I’m successful, I’m on a cell phone!
But if that’s true, why don’t truly important people act like this? My brother in law is a neurologist and he’s never rude. He has gotten calls or pages, and he always politely excuses himself and handles it. But he’s never rude.
When I spent time with my editor and agent at the RWA Conference, I never even saw their cell phones. I know they both have and use them, but they didn’t see any need to be on them 24/7.
I have a basic OLD cell phone and don’t much care. But that’s because I’m home most of the time. If I used my cell more, I’d have a better one. But to me, my cell phone is a communication tool and a convenience. I like to have it with me for security—if my car breaks down, I’ll be darned glad I have it. I don’t feel like it’s any kind of status symbol, and when I’m in public situations, I rarely use it.
So I’m wondering, what is the addiction to cell phones about? What is the social status symbol that makes people want to walk around with ear pieces that keeps them always connected? That strikes me as not so much as status symbol, but a severe kind of insecurity. Like the story my son told me about the girl complaining that she never had any fun at parties, but she sat in a corner texting all night instead of talking that the people who were at the party.
What do you all think?