Zany cell phone hi-jinx.

20Nov08

Social convention has clearly not caught up to technology. Cell phones allow us to be constantly connected to anyone at any time. I’m starting to think that there is such a thing as too much constant connection. Cell phone users are incredibly rude, strange, or annoying at times. People must assume that putting a cell phone to your ear locks you an invisible phone booth. I have news. This is not true.

There are your run-of-the-mill in line cell phone users. These are the people who go through check out lines, or ordering lines, on the phone. I’m guilty of this at times, but I always put my phone down when it comes time to interact with the person who is actually being of assistance to me. It’s incredible when the person in front of you will say to the person on the phone, Oh I’m not talking to you sorry, like that other person matters more even for the fifteen seconds it takes to interact with the cashier at the grocery.

The worst abuser of this I ever witnessed was at a popular sandwich chain. This chain involves complicated toppings combinations. The guy on the phone in front of me could not be bothered to wait the one minute it would take for the employee to make his sandwich to answer his phone. His following rudeness on the cell phone created confusion for the employee, who didn’t know when he was being addressed. This ended in the customer yelling at the employee, Hey asshole don’t you listen? The other people in line with me exchanged looks. I was hungover and quite hungry, and all I wanted was my sandwich. So I called the customer out on his ridiculous cell phone antics. He stopped abusing the employee in order to verbally berate me for not minding my own business. I pointed out that his asshattery stood between me and my delicious hangover cure. The others in line backed me up. He left in a huff.

I was once on a plane next to a woman who texted nonstop, even when the flight attendant told her to turn off her cell phone. On a return pass, the flight attendant reminded this woman to turn off her phone. The woman actually got snippy with the flight attendant, as though her texting was not an inconvenience to me and everyone else on that plane who wanted to get on with take-off. It took the flight attendant threatening to confiscate the phone for the woman to finally comply. You have got to be kidding me.

I cannot tell you the number of times I have been in a public restroom to overhear someone on the phone while using the restroom. Can your conversation really not wait? I always wonder what the other person is thinking. The flushing has to give it away. I personally don’t want to hear you take a piss unless you are paying me.

While these fore mentioned annoyances are rude and create inconvenience, some cell phone incidents are dangerous. I’m frequently guilty of driving and talking. I’m bad, I’m a hypocrite, I know. Yet I have never nearly or directly caused anyone harm while on my phone. Chicago is notorious for dangerous crossings. Motorists here apparently don’t believe anyone should have the right to cross the street, ever. Perhaps this is from years of dealing with clueless tourists in the Loop and River North who don’t quite grasp the concept of only crossing when the light is red. Regardless, throw a cell phone into the mix, and someone is going to be maimed.

I was once crossing inside a crosswalk near downtown. I had the walk sign. I was talking on the phone to a friend about my horrible day, but I had the foresight to ask her to wait while I made sure I could cross. As I was crossing, a motorist who just couldn’t wait for me to cross to turn left nearly plowed into me. I froze like a deer, my shins mere inches from his bumper. And, displaying my usual lack of restraint, I gestured at him as though challenging him to hit me. There were dozens of witnesses around, including a police officer directing traffic. He honked at me. As he swerved around me and zipped away, he yelled, Get off your fucking phone! I’m sure you see where this is going. He was on his cell phone the entire time.

Of course, not all cell phone abusers are completely annoying. Some are annoying and amusing. Next time you are on the phone fighting with a parent, a friend, or especially a significant other, remind yourself that the best place to do it is not in public. At least once a week, I am treated to someone on the train on their cell phone arguing. My favorites are the romantic tiffs. There’s nothing more annoying/amusing than rush hour on a crowded L train, listening to the losing end of a romantic quarrel. But baby, no, you don’t understand. Baby, please! Baby, I did not kiss that girl, your friend is a liar. Don’t say that, baby. Are you calling me a liar? Me? Girl, you better shut the hell up and listen!

Uncomfortable medical conversations are also hilarious. Although I’m partly convinced that I’m on a hidden camera show when I overhear someone on the phone describing a bowel movement or suspicious bump on the genitals on the cell phone.

I just have to remind myself, without these hypocrisies, social blunders, and rudeness, there would not be the endless joy that is Overheard in (your city) websites. Nothing makes me happier than reading about the ridiculous conversations other people have heard from cell phone users. I’m just waiting for the day when something insane, offensive, or stupid I say on my phone ends up on Overheard in Chicago.

Your turn. Give me your worst, more irksome, or more hilarious story of zany cell phone hi-jinx.

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One Response to “Zany cell phone hi-jinx.”


  1. 1 Being Amber Rhea » Blog Archive » links for 2008-11-21

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