And mobile phones are good - why?

These things are not your friend

Would someone, anyone, please tell me one good thing that has come from cell phones?

Like teenagers need one more distraction when they are learning to drive?

Like we need one more source of noise at a crowded airport?

Like hearing the opening strains of Fur Elise adds anything to the climatic moment of the latest movie?

And would somebody please tell that one person on the bus who is talking on their phone all the way into the city that they are not the only person on the bus who owns a cellular telephonic device? Do they ever stop to wonder why they are the only rider talking on the phone?

When you talk on one of these things you instinctively project your voice beyond the normal volume used in a one to one conversation with a person sitting next to you. You are like the guy who is doing a presentation to a roomful of people, who steps away from the microphone and yells to the back of the room, "Can you folks back there hear me?" When they nod "yes" he procedes to give his presentation without the aid of the microphone like this gesture increases his testosterone level or some such. He speaks in his normal voice and nobody beyond the first six rows hears a word. Except when you talk on a cell phone you do project your voice to the back row whether you intend to or not. And everybody in range gets to hear your conversation. Like we care who scored the most points in the men's league game last night or what your sister said to her mother in law over lunch today.

But my favorite, the all-star cell phone user in my book is the one who uses her blue tooth in the grocery store. You look up from trying to decide which Ranch dressing is made in a way most likely to taste like homemade because it seems like the woman on the other side of the aisle is asking you a question. Turns out, she has no idea you or anyone else for that matter is in the store. She's just paying attention to her conversation with the voice in her ear and could care less that she is directing her speaking voice to everyone within the ten-foot perimeter from where she is standing. Only she isn't just standing. She is on a trajectory through the crowded store that will insure she distracts at least one person every three feet - people who are just trying to get their shopping done, who have no real interest in her literal broadband commentary.

I have a theory about why there is this small percentage of the population who are ruining the convenience of cell phone use for the rest of us. A group that will eventually lead to yet more entrusive legislation imposed on what should be our personal lives after much time and energy has been wasted on the issue. That small percentage is made up of the same members of our society who would smoke on elevators if we let them; they would use bad language at children's sporting events if there were not officials to throw them out; they run red lights when they are in a hurry or go around school buses with the stop sign out. It's not so much that they are evil people. They just only consider themselves in any given situation. When it is pointed out to them that other people inhabit the earth with them, they acknowledge the truth of this fact and promise to try and remember. Usually they don't.

So has anything good come from the advent of the cell phone? After all this rambling, my answer is: yes. One good thing. How many times a day, after overhearing the unsolicited conversations of perfect strangers, do you hear these words: "I love you. Bye." ? I must hear them more times than I can track. I love you. Bye. A man speaking to his wife (we hope); a woman speaking to her child; a teenager speaking to his first girlfriend ever; a middle aged woman speaking to a friend she's known since childhood. I love you. Bye.

That's not a bad thing. I can't name a situation in the pre-cell phone era that comes anywhere close to this spread of positive emotion through society. "Have a good day." "Peace." "What's your sign?" - Nothing comes close. "I love you. Bye."

How can anything that allows us to hear people say something that sweet, that initimate, that direct to each other many, many times a day really be all that bad? Still irritating maybe - but not bad, not really.

I love you. Bye.


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Comments 9 comments

Husky1970 5 years ago

Nice hub. Hearing those words is definitely a good thing about cell phones. Too bad we couldn't just use them for emergencies or only when absolutely necessary. I do think their use did start out that way but evolved to the gross overuse we now have. You have a good writing style and always make good points. Voted up!


Phil Plasma profile image

Phil Plasma 5 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

Yes the irritating habits of some cell phone users are rather perturbing. You make a terrific point about the way that people close their conversations. Personally I am only an as needed cell phone user - mostly just to fix plans or locations. Great hub earning you a vote-up and an awesome.


USAFGrunt profile image

USAFGrunt 4 years ago from Riverside, CA

Ha! I love how you mention the grocery store Bluetooth user..those people are always getting to me. I think I hear that person ask me a question or say something to me, so I stop what I'm doing to look at them and go "wha-? oh.." So annoying...

Great post!


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Kathleen Cochran 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

USAFGrunt: First, thank you for your service, and your family as well. Then, glad you enjoyed the rant and thanks for taking time to comment.


Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

USAFGrunt: First, thank you for your service, and your family as well. Then, glad you enjoyed the rant and thanks for taking time to comment.


vinner profile image

vinner 4 years ago from India

You have some really cool hubs. Waiting to read more of your hubs.


Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Vinner: Looking forward to your comments and will take a look at yours. That's what we're here for, right?


Mikey 4 years ago

Cell phones are great -- it's the people who suck. Way too many people are way too rude.

Cell phones allow for "on-call" people to actually have a life instead of hanging around at home in case a call comes in.

Cell phones are great to have in an emergency (remember the good 'ol days of breaking down on the side of a road at night...wondering if the person who stops will help you or harm you?)

Cell phones are fantastic for reaching people to say "I'm stuck in traffic and will be a few minutes late"...or to be able to call and say "where are you? I've been waiting 10 minutes."

The list of "good things" is actually quite long. The list of bad things has nothing to do with the phone. Just like a gun does not kill people, a cell phone is not rude. The person holding the gun kills and the person holding the cell phone is rude.

So welcome to the rude world, where every good thing gets abused.


Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Mikey: You make a lot of good points, particularly the one about something that can be used for a great deal of good, but gets abused in the hands of a rude person. That list would include many things besides the cell phone.

It just so happens, I just returned from a 10 day cruise, which was a world without cell phones. It was amazing how different the ambiance became once we returned to U.S. waters and folks had access to their phones again. I really was sorry to see the reprieve from the moving thumbs and overhearing conversations come to an end.

Thanks for your comments.

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