Wednesday, September 12, 2012


How many times have you heard somebody say "Wow, I thought I lost my phone! I'm so glad I got it back, my life is in that thing!" Statements like that give a big clue as to why our society is in decay.
A telephone is just that. The only thing you need a telephone for is to make and recieve telephone calls.  Landline or cell, that's it's only legitimate reason for being.  And a cell phone is a damn near neccessity these days as land-line pay phones are rapidly headed the way of the moa and the dodo.
The first cell phone that was commonly available to the common stiff on the streets was the Sprint "PCS" (Personal Communication System" - it always has to sound new and fancy, but it was and is still just a cell phone).  Soon, that wasn't enough, and "texting" was added.
Then came still and video cameras built into cell phones and these became so popular for taking sneak pics and vids of people undressing in locker rooms that nowadays public pools and gyms ask you to surrender your phone before entering the dressing rooms. \
Then it was the Palm Pilot and the Blackberry and an avalanche of technology such that now you can get full internet access and more right over your "i-Phone" or whatever. It's gotten to the point that many of us are "connected" to everyone on the planet except the guy right next to us, who is similarly lost in the ozone.
People will hear about something on the news, whip out their "smart phones", google it and find a website discussing it, and text in their idiotic comments.
Lots of people have what's called a "Bluetooth" device clipped to their ears, and have become oblivious to the fact that, when you are talking in public to someone who isn't physically present, you look like you are nuts. And there are people who just go off in a heated argument and walk around raving at the person they are on the phone with as if that person is right in front of them, complete with hand gestures, body language and cuss words.
Here's a true story: I had a woman in my cab a few years ago who wanted to go to a house in Burke, VA for a party. But she didn't know the address and wanted me to follow her directions. At some point she told me to "go straight" down a section of highway.
Then presently she started saying "Make the next left" and "Turn right two lights down."  Eventually we wound up in the middle of Clifton, VA.
She had been telling a friend (who was coming from another directioon), via her damned "bluetooth", how to get to the party. She hadn't bothered to tell me she was on the phone.  She hadn't noticed that we were going the wrong way, either; because she had been so engrossed in talking to her friend. When we finally got to her destination the fare was $85, and I had to call the police to force her to pay it. Had she just given me the damn address, there wouldn't have been a problem.
But people don't remember addresses anymore. How many times have I picked someone up - someone who called for a cab fifteen minutes before I arrived or even pre-arranged the trip the day before, who has gotten into the hack and when asked "where to" has said, "umm, wait a minute" and has had to consult some database in his or her phone to tell me where they were going? I wish I had a dollar for every time...
People going to the freaking airport have to consult their "smart phone" to find out which airline they are getting on. This is ridiculous. I don't care if you fly someplace ten times a week, you damned well ought to know which airline your ticket is made out for. CAN'T YOU DAMNED IDIOTS KNOW OR REMEMBER WHERE YOU ARE GOING BEFORE YOU ORDER A CAB?? For the luvva Pete....
I'm at a loss for all the constant yak, yak, yak on the phone. And "texting" makes even less sense. Call me on the phone and if you can't get your point across in one minute or less, then we need to meet face to face.
I keep a personal phone book made of paper and printed in ink with all the names, addresses, and numbers I use. I have quite a few phone numbers memorized, too in case I don't have my master list handy and my phone goes out.
As for my cell phone, sometimes - most of the time, really - I keep the damn thing turned off unless I'm expecting an important call or making one. For me, "keeping it real" means not being phoney.

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