Enthralled by meaningless calls in bathroom stalls

Published May 22, 2005|Updated Aug. 25, 2005

I really don't like to admit it, but I am a cell phone owner and user. I purchased my cell phone because I am on the road a lot taking pictures and getting information for the paper. I figured it would be a handy thing to have in case I got lost, had a flat tire, felt ill or was going to be late getting home.

I also use mine for making long distance phone calls to my family up North. It costs me less than my land phone would.

It is usually where no one can find it: in my purse. I don't need to have it with me all day and all night.

Now, I think cell phones really are marvelous inventions. Parents can keep in touch with their teenagers when they are out and about doing whatever teenagers do these days. People can call their spouses to tell them to bring home a loaf of bread or pick up the dog at the vet.

But, like everything else Americans do, they seem to have taken cell phones to the absolute limit. I am amazed when I am at the mall to see all of the people who constantly talk on their cell phones. They aren't necessarily talking about anything important. They are just having little conversations.

I sometimes marvel at what these people find to talk about as they drive in their car, walk through the mall or go down the aisles at the grocery store. Their conversations seem to be a running dialogue of where they are and what they are doing. You might say it sounds almost like a documentary you would see and hear on television.

One conversation might go like this: "Here I am. I'm in the mall and I'm walking past the Penny's entrance. Now I'm going into Penny's. I'm passing the men's department and heading for the jewelry counter. No, I don't want jewelry. I'm beyond the children's wear and headed in the direction of the shoes.

"Ah, here I am in women's wear. I am looking at some shorts. No, I don't think I like the pink ones. Here, I'll take a picture of them with my cell phone. Maybe you can tell me if I should buy them."

Or the conversation may be more like this: "I just had to call to tell you what I heard about Jane! You simply won't believe it!" And so on.

It is like humans must constantly be in touch with someone, anyone, and can't stand to be alone. We had friends over to play cards the other night. One of them carries her cell phone wherever she goes. She also has an answering machine at home.

Well, we were way into the game of euchre when her cell phone rang. She answered it and said, "I'm busy right now. I'll call you back tomorrow."

My thought is, if you weren't going to talk anyway, why bring the phone along? There was no family emergency nor was she expecting one.

We had another friend in our golf league who had her cell phone with her in the golf cart because she and her husband had three children at home with a babysitter. The kids still called every other hole to tell their mother about some argument they were having over who got to watch what TV program. So why have the babysitter?

The best one was when I was at the mall. I stopped in the restroom when I heard a cell phone ring in the stall next to me. The woman answered it with, "So what are you doing?" I couldn't hear the response on the other end, but her response was, "Oh, I'm just going to the bathroom."

Now, to me, that is the height of the ridiculous. I really don't think I want someone to know that I am going to the bathroom. And I certainly hope she didn't have a camera phone!

I personally feel that some day cell phones will become part of our anatomy. We will mutate into human beings with one ear on one side of our heads and a cell phone on the other where our ear used to be. I wonder if we will be able to choose which phone company we want to be permanently attached?

I won't tell you which one I'd choose. You might not like my choice. Well, that's all I have to say about cell phones. I must stop writing; I think I hear mine ringing, and I'm in the shower.

Thought for the day: Reach out and touch someone or call them on your cell phone.