Years and years ago, when Trailways was still in business or at least ran out of Philadelphia, I had gotten back from London and after noticing that everyone there seemed to have one, I decided to get a cell phone for myself.
I remember the Trailways thing because one of my first calls was done on the bus trip back from Boston to Philadelphia. The trip was one of those promotional deals done in order to save the company, $25 round trip for the Memorial Day weekend. I didn’t really want to go to Boston, but it was a hell of lot cheaper than the $500 plus that the airlines wanted to take me to Miami with a one-day advance purchase. Yes as usual I had left everything to the last minute and decided that I had had enough of the DC Memorial Day trips. No one told me at the time the trip to Bean Town would take 6 hours each way and have 2 sever cases of leg cramps.
Anyway, it was the Monday and I remember calling Larry and telling him that I would be arriving in Philly at around whatever time it was and that we should hang out and go to a club when I got there. When I hung up, a little girl who had been watching me came over and said that her mother, sitting behind me to my left would like to know if she could use my phone. I looked at the mother and thought the nerve of some people, doesn’t know me from a sack of shit but wants me to pay for her roaming charges, long distance charges and maybe even international charges if she calls Haiti or wherever she was from, (I’m bigoted that way sometimes, I don’t mean to be, but that’s how it is.) I shook my head and said “no” openly and “bitch” silently.
I bring this up only because I read earlier this week on MSNBC.com an article about the etiquette of cell phone use and how it has degraded the social interaction between many and left the rest of us angered or at least frustrated by the seeming lack of concern by the cell phone user for the privacy and comfort of those not engaged in their conversations.
Curtis is like that. If we are leaving the gym together and in the elevator, he will get on his phone and almost shout into it. Regardless of how many people are in there with us, he will talk, kee-kee and guffaw so loudly that I swear one time I felt the glass walls of the thing start to vibrate.
There was another time when a man on the Speedline, my commuter train, started to call his friend and tell him about his “I”-talian meal that he just had and had washed it down with a nice Chianti. He must have also caught an old movie too. He spoke of how he enjoyed himself until his friend on the other end must have told him that he was going to bed, it was about 9pm and they hung up. Then he called another friend and got to same point in the story when this one said that his wife was calling him and they hung up. And this continued and continued until he got to his station.
I would have felt sorry for this man’s friends having to put up with him, but they got to end their conversations. I and the rest of the passengers in the car heard the same story over and over again for at least 6 times word for word, and each time as clear as a bell even though we were about 20 feet apart. Everyone was starting to get annoyed. I guess like me they just wanted to get 20 minutes or so of peace and quiet after a long day and this bozo was intruding in it.
Speaking of peace and quiet, have you ever travelled on Amtrak along the Northeastern Corridor? Some trains now have a quiet car at the end where conversations and cell phones are forbidden and all electronics must be in the mute mode in order to enhance the ride and joy of their fellow passengers. I love it and try to find it whenever I am on Amtrak.
As for the movies, I won’t even get into the amount of times that I used to hear cells phones ring and conversations start when I was at there. Although now, I have learned to avoid certain places and stay away from those elements that exasperate me. That’s code for me being “Bougie” even though I’m not sure bougie is what really describes me.
A few years ago I was on my cell phone and telling, well he never reads this, Lamont my plans for the weekend.
“I think that I will come up to Neeeew …..York,” a loud release of breath and a pause, “this weekend.”
“Are you alright?” asks Lamont.
“Yeah. I was just stretching,” I said trying to remember not to flush the toilet until after I hung up with him.
Truth be told, I think that wasn’t the only time that I’ve gone through that, nor was Lamont the only person that I’ve done it to. But if someone were to do that to me and show so much disrespect I would try to reach through that phone and I would, I would…
Well, who among us is perfect?