Well, my cell phone is dead. Moment of silence for my cell phone. Not too long, though. Make it like the moment of silence that Bob Sheppard calls for “our servicemen and women stationed around the globe” in the seventh inning stretch at Yankee Stadium. That is, like 4 seconds.
See, I’m not wedded to this thing as many of you are. Oh, I love pocket-sized electronic devices, that’s for sure. Sometimes I pile my cell phone on top of my iPod on top of my PDA and admire the layer cake of gadgets that I carry around. But I don’t talk much on my cell phone. First off, I am either at work or at home for 95% of my day and my landline service is far clearer. Second, half of that other 5% is made up of subway riding where there is no service. (Thank God. Can you imagine? “Yeah, I’m on the uptown B, where you at?” for miles and miles.) Here, I included a handy graph. It’s a little blurry, but you get the idea.
Here’s the key in case you don’t have 20/5 vision.
Walking someplace V. important 1%
In the bowels of the Time Warner Center 1%
Misc. stupidity .5%
Of course, there’s much overlap between “Work” and “Misc. stupidity” but my graphing capability is limited.
But mostly, I have an old fashioned sense of propriety about phone conversations that irritates most people I know to no end. You know that behavior you have that you feel certain that your friends joke about when you’re not around? I’m sure I have several but I know this is one. I just don’t chat on cell phones. For one thing, I’m quite private and I don’t like to be yelling, “What do you mean he’s cheating on you?” at Starbucks. Once, the woman in front of me on line at the Food Emporium was having an entire, matter-of-fact, conversation on her cell phone about how her doctor had told her she couldn’t have children. Holy crap, how am I supposed to just watch my groceries slide across the belt and then go on with my day after that?
Even if I’m at home, I get annoyed if you call me from your cell phone. If you have no landline, that’s OK. But if you do, and you still chose to call me from waiting on line to get into “The Da Vinci Code,” well, how important am I supposed to feel? I guess the time you have at home is just too valuable to waste on little old me. And if I want to tell you something meaningful, “Hey, I’m really depressed,” or whatever, do I want you saying, “What? Can you repeat that?” every three seconds while I know you are simultaneously surrounded by a horde of strangers?
So, I rarely use mine. But that’s OK, it calculates tips and has a flashlight. I have Virgin Mobile which is pay-as-you-go and I pay essentially $5 a month. I almost never use it up. The Olympic moment for my cell phone is at the US Open in August/September when my family and I use our phones all day to say things like, “What match are you at? Should I come over? Is it a blowout? No, come here, it’s going into the fifth set and all the Chilean fans are going crazy!” We should really learn to text because, if you’ve ever been to the US Open, you know that people will give you the Stare of Death if you take a phone call while points are being played. That leads to a hastily whispered, “Court 12, on serve…call you right back. Bring ice cream.”
And so, I do need one. Sadly, at Virgin Mobile, part of the a la carte experience is not getting a free phone. So I will now have to shell out for either a “clamshell” or straight up model. I just need to make sure it has a good flashlight.
Yeah, I could have gone with either Hanging on the Telephone or Call Me (which my mother used to add several extra any’s to when she sang it: “Call me any any any any any time…..”) by Blondie. But that would have been too easy. I really wanted “Telephone Operator” by Pete Shelley but it’s not available on Napster. So let’s go with this gem from the early ‘90’s.