Wednesday, August 06, 2008

I hate cell phones

By Annette Dashofy

I thought I’d surrendered my hatred of cell phones. I thought I’d come to accept that the blasted things are everywhere.

I was wrong.

Monday, I stood at the gas pump filling up…a situation that doesn’t do much for my mood anyway…when a young girl wheeled up to the pump next to mine, hopped out, and began gassing up her vehicle. All the while, she kept her cell phone pinned to her ear with her shoulder.

Note to all cell phone addicts: cell phones should not be used when pumping gas. Electrical sparks (which can be created by cell phones) combined with gasoline fumes equals BOOM.

I was tempted to remind this girl of that apparently little-known fact. Look, sweetie, if you want to blow yourself into the next state, fine. But don’t do it with me standing next to you.

While I was debating whether or not this gal might be crazy enough to pull out a gun and shoot me for not minding my own business, another car pulled up to the pump in front of mine. You guessed it. The driver proceeded to fill her car with her phone stuck to her ear.

I was surrounded! Rather than point out the error of their ways, I chose to get the heck outta there. Since I haven’t heard any news reports of explosions at the Robinson Get Go, I assume all survived.

Why must we constantly be “in touch” with everyone else? What is so important that you have to discuss it while driving? Shopping? Pumping gas? Walking on the bike trails?

Using the bathroom?! Yep. They’re everywhere.

With gas prices (and cell phone sparks threatening to blow me up at the pumps), I’m tempted to break out my bicycle and use it to get around. The problem isn’t so much the tractor trailers that cruise our road doing 60 MPH in spite of the 45 MPH speed limit. It’s the drivers who are too busy text messaging to watch where they’re going. Just waiting to cross the road to get my mail has become an adventure. I’ve jumped back to avoid being clipped by the passenger-side rearview mirror zipping past only to notice the driver scowling at his phone.

Watch the damn road!

Lately, I’m even fed up with my own phone. Yes, I have one. It’s for emergencies. And for my 88 year old mom to reach me if she needs me. But lately it’s been ringing a lot. No, I haven’t suddenly become popular. The bulk of my incoming calls are wrong numbers. One guy called me last night claiming my number had come up repeatedly in his caller ID and he wanted to know who I was and what I wanted. I assured him that I had not called him and hung up. So he called back. I told him it was still the wrong number. I guess he got the hint. If the phone had rung a third time, I would have let it go to voice mail.

I admit, wrong numbers can sometimes be entertaining. I had one guy call my voice mail repeatedly over a couple of days begging me in tears to come back to him.

I do identify myself in my greeting message. Apparently, it didn’t matter to him that I was not DeeDee Baby. He still left his messages for her on my voice mail. “Please come back to Poppy, DeeDee Baby!” And, no, I am not changing the names to protect the terminally stupid.

Okay, my rant is over. I feel better now. Anyone want to share? What’s your favorite annoying cell phone moment? Have you received any interesting wrong numbers? I think there’s some story material here.


Gina said...

Annette, I share your attitude toward cell phones. In fact, I keep mine turned off unless I have to make an urgent call.

My favorite cell phone moment occurred in the Milwaukee airport. I was walking toward the ladies' room door. A woman with two young children was approaching it from another direction. A man, talking on his cell phone, cut between us and went in. A moment later, he came back out, still talking on the phone. He was saying, ". . . and I just walked into the women's room . . .," as he went past. Thank goodness he wasn't driving!

Tory said...

I know this isn't about cellphones, but I was thinking of your "wrong numbers" and the dilemmas our new communication technology has created. I got a call from someone yesterday who said she was searching for "depression support groups" and my name came up. I told her I didn't lead depression support groups. She said, "Well, I googled it, and you came up. You really need to have that changed!"

I love it when others give you responsibility for something you have no control over. How the hell am I going to change the google search engine? And if she'd read my description, she'd realize depression support groups weren't mentioned anywhere!

End of my morning rant.

Annette said...

Tory, somewhere on Google, there is a listing for me giving my home address as a town in Indiana. The links all go to my website, so it really is supposed to be me. Since I don't especially WANT my home address on the web, I've decided it's OK that the one listed happens to be wrong by several hundred miles.

Joyce said...

I like having a cell phone, but I rarely use it. I just switched carriers because I was tired of paying $40 a month for only using my phone for 30 minutes. Now I have a Tracfone with double minutes for life. I have enough minutes to last the rest of the year for only $20.

Annette, every gas station I've been to has a big sign right on the gas pumps DO NOT USE CELL PHONE WHILE PUMPING GAS. Oh wait, some of those people with the phones glued to their ears can't read.

Annette said...

Joyce, as illustrated by Gina's bathroom story.

mike said...

Great story, Gina! Thanks for the morning laugh.

I don't know that any of us can do much about the chattering class, Annette, except stay out of their way. A couple months ago I was standing on the sidewalk on Carson Street on the South Side waiting for Jim and a friend to come out of a store. Over a period of a few minutes I watched five cars drive by in the same direction...4 of the 5 young male drivers--in another time I would've called them "men" but nowadays these 20-somethings still have too much of the juvenile "boy" about them to be considered "men"--were talking on their phones. The fifth was text messaging! I was glad I was well back on the sidewalk and not driving.

Wilfred Bereswill said...

Annette, I don't hate cell phones. It's the idiots that use them when they shouldn't be that bother me.

Recently there were several people killed on Highway 40 during rush hour when the driver of a tractor trailer drove into a line of cars in backed-up traffic. My wife takes that route home every day and she went by there no more that minutes before the accident.

Apparently the truck driver was distracted by is cell phone.

I know this is an extreme case, but it's not uncommon.

On the lighter side, didn't Mythbusters tackle the cell phone starting fires at the gas station? I thought it was myth busted.

Annette said...

Oh, gosh, Wil, tractor trailers scare the crap outta me. I almost got ill reading the accident scene in THE HORSE WHISPERER. Tractor trailer plus cell horrible.

I did find mention of the gas station fires due to cell phones being a hoax. But I have seen signs at the pumps stating that cell phones should not be used, so I guess no one told the station owners.

Becky said...

I've had more than my share of customers using their cell phones while I check them out. I'd like to step back and stand there with my arms crossed but that would be a no no so I have to use sign language and more than a few of them walk away without as much as thank you! Our post office has the right idea they post a sign that says if you are on your cell phone we will not wait on you.

Anonymous said...

Aren't you ever coming back, DeeDee Baby?