The Ottumwa Courier

Columns

May 13, 2013

Headline: Hey, human being here!

Put the cell phone down, just for a second!

OTTUMWA — I’m walking into an establishment — let’s just say it was Applebee’s. Could be anywhere.

I’m with ... we’ll just call them Florette and Conan (just changing the names to protect the guilty). Florette places her cell phone on the table — kind of romantic — like an old-fashioned fire you used to sit around and gaze at.

Meanwhile, Conan keeps sighing and tossing his phone down in between texts, as people tend to do now with their cell phones. You know, they’ll just kind of flip them onto the table while making a “pssst” sound in frustration.

Don’t you love it when they flip that cell phone out on the table and say, “Let’s talk.” That cell phone is just staring at you. What your friend is really saying is, “I’ll talk to you until something better comes along on this phone.”

 

Quality time?

This wouldn’t be all that annoying if I wasn’t halfway through a really good story! It could be a life-threatening story — it could be a humorous, melt-your-heart story you would remember for the rest of your life. It could be that I just won the Powerball jackpot, that I’m going to die next week. The point is, it’s hard to tell a story when someone is so distracted by a cell phone!

You know, when you’re talking to me, I don’t in mid-conversation suddenly hold up a Sports Illustrated, right in front of my face, and start reading it — while half-cognizant, saying, “Uh-huh, uh-huh” without a clue of what you just said.

Don’t you see, when you’re talking to someone with a cell phone, you had better be “on” and have some pretty entertaining stories. Because if they don’t like your show, they’re going to find a better show on that phone!

Usually they’ll have some goofy ringtone like Smokey and the Bandit’s East Bound and Down” that interrupts your conversations too.

“So Florette, did I tell you, I discovered the secret to life! Yeah, it was in a James Michener book. It was right after the Earth cooled. Then Michener wrote something that just blew my mind ...”

“Eastbound and down, loaded up and truckin’/ We’re gonna do what they say can’t be done/ We’ve got a long way to go and a short time to get there ...”

Florette answers, “Hello.”

Oh well ... I guess I’ll just wait until she gets off the phone and finish up my story later. Maybe it wasn’t interesting enough!

After five minutes, Florette’s off the phone.

“So anyway, Florette, the other day I discovered the fountain of youth. Yep, it’s two parts vinegar and one part ...”

“Eastbound and down, loaded up and truckin.”

“Hello, hey how are you?”

“Dang!” I say to myself. Alright, I’m just going to have to come up with some better material. She’ll only be on the phone for another five minutes or so. OK, she’s finally off.

“So Florette and Conan, I overheard some people outside. I guess there’s a warrant out for your arrest and you probably shouldn’t go home ...”

“Eastbound and down, loaded up and truckin.”

Dang it! I can’t get through a conversation!

Sometimes you’ll see everyone lined up at the local bar and grill, all playing on their cell phones. No one’s talking to anyone actually there. They’re all off in their own little worlds.

This is what I call a social faux pas which is now accepted for some reason in today’s society.

 

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