Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I Hate My Cell Phone

I do. It has become this necessary evil for me. Yes, the convenience of the damn thing cannot be argued. And I will eventually purchase an iPhone so I can have the NFL game-casts on my phone, but I won’t like it.

To me a cell phone is like vegetables. I may eat them, but I don’t have to like them.

This week I saw a couple oddities. People actually using a payphone in New York City. The first was on the subway platform on 103rd Street. A guy was yelling into the greasy receiver while hundreds ignored him waiting for the train. The other was on the second floor of Barnes and Noble on 82nd Street. There’s a payphone next to the head. It was strange to see. The payphone is dying faster than the Chinese Alligator. (It’s endangered, okay. Come on kids, stay with me here.)

A couple years ago, I decided I was going to ditch my cell. My contract was up and didn’t renew. I thought it was great. The problem was, everyone else didn’t. I had to endure my family and friends constantly complaining that I didn’t have a cell. I got tired of the complaints and a year later, I got another phone. I wasn’t happy about it.

I think the system was fine the way it was. I call you, you weren’t there, I leave a message. You called me back. It worked. What was the problem?

I don’t need to be available 24 hours a day. You walk down the street and see dozens of people on the phone. Talking about what? Everyone in the car chatting away. About what? Not to mention the schmucks that keep that Bluetooth device in their ear all day. You look like an idiot with that thing in your ear.

Watch the old Seinfeld re-runs and there isn’t a cell phone in sight. It’s nice. I’m out, leave a message. The system was fine.

The payphone/landline is integral in classic storytelling. Like Sam Spade on the horn to the cops in The Maltese Falcon. Mobsters relaying info from The Godfather to Casino to The Sopranos. (The Departed is a great film, but the cell phone stuff was a little tiresome.) And where did Clark Kent switch into Superman? He didn’t slip into the Verizon store on 5th Avenue and duck behind the “Do You Hear Me Now? Guy’s cardboard cutout.

I know this is never going to change. If I ditch my phone again, I’ll have to listen to the complaints again. I do get to talk to my nephews a lot, it’s not all bad. In fact, I was just told this story yesterday. My nephew Luke is two. Very, very two years old. He’s a mischievous little stinker. A couple nights ago, about three in the morning and for no apparent reason, Luke took off all his pajamas including his diaper. My sister-in-law has no idea how long he was roaming the halls buck-booty-naked. Luke came into his parents room, jumped on the bed, woke my brother and said, “Daddy! I’m cold!” No kidding buddy, it’s November and you’re nude. You can’t make that story up.

Last year, Stephen King wrote a novel called Cell, where a cell signal called “the pulse” starts a zombie-like epidemic. Let’s hope that doesn’t actually happen. That would be a real bummer.

Thus ends my pointless but mildly funny rant of the week. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to make a call.

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