Several things I’ve seen or talked about recently set me to thinking about the title here. Watching a sports show on ESPN 2 the other morning, MIKE AND MIKE IN THE MORNING, the co-hosts had a conversation about their electronic devices. Mike Greenberg, a skinny middle-aged man, an admitted metrosexual, was bemoaning the fact that his partner, Mike Golic, an ex-NFL defensive lineman, had left his cell phone on a plane and, while waiting on a replacement, had left his house without taking his wife or daughter’s cell phone, such that for two and a half hours, Greenberg was unable to get in touch with him. Golic was laughing at him and said his family, the important people, knew where he was and he was happy to be somewhere out of touch for a few hours.
Greenberg was incensed and said it was nuts that he could not reach him for those two and a half hours, it made him insane that Golic enjoyed being away from his electronic devices. They spoke of another incident a couple of years before where Greenberg’s device at the time(he has a Blackberry now) was in for servicing for one day and he was beside himself at being cut off for a whole day. They talked of Greenberg being unable to go more than five minutes without the use of his device.
I just shook my head.
I just don’t get this mania for cell phones, Blackberrys, Ipads. I can see using them, but not to the degree that they rule your life. Maybe, it’s my generation. I have long had a dislike of such devices stemming from the ill-mannered people who use them. A few years back, I went into a restaurant for dinner and made the mistake of sitting beside someone on a cell. I placed my order with the waitress, waited, ate the meal when it arrived, and relaxed a few minutes before I left. The fellow never stopped talking on his phone the whole time. Lord knows how he ate or if he even did, I just heard that unending drone coming from his mouth. People like him have no respect for the rights of anyone around them, but would scream like banshees if you suggested they cut the damn thing off(I’ve often thought if I’d ever had a restaurant, one thing would be written in stone(so to speak). A big sign out front would say, “Cut off cell phones and pagers before entering. This will be your only warning.” Of course that would exclude emergency workers. Any violators would be asked to leave. Yes, I know, that likely would hurt business, so onw can see I could never make it in that line of work.
I don’t have a lot of experience with cell phones in theaters. I stopped going years back for a variety of reasons, but chiefly because too many people seemed more interested in socializing than watching a movie. Talking, constantly getting up and down, bringing small babies easily startled by loud noises, they seemed to treat movies as more of a club-hopping night. Cells weren’t nearly as common as today and I have heard enough horror stories about them to be glad I don’t go anymore. Though I maintain a pretty even temper, I will lose it now and again. And an ill-mannered lout that is using a cell in a theater is just the sort to make me lose it.
All that said, I know as many responsible users as the reverse. There’s just enough to make me have a bias against them.
I only recently got my first cell phone(I mean a real one. I’ve had a few of those “burner” phones) and it’s only for emergencies. Seldom used, I never turn it on until I use it. My ground based line is part of my cable package, which means in a power outage, no phone. And when I’m out in the car, it’s nice to be able to call someone if any sort of car trouble should occur.
Recently I was talking with a niece about the old days when her mother and I were kids. She was astounded when I told her about party lines, a half dozen people on one phone line, each with their own ring, and if someone was talking, no one else could use the phone. She just couldn’t fathom such a notion.
A couple of years back, a young relative said his girl friend at the time broke up with him because he would rather talk on the phone than text back and forth. I just thought it a convenient excuse to dump him. But now I see more and more, on TV and life, people in the same room texting each other as if they were miles apart.
Face to face conversations among the young folk seem to be disappearing. What will the world be like in another couple of generations?
As I said, the electronic age, in some respects, may be screwing up the world.