The Rant: A Monday Morning View - Cell Phones
The cell phone - a perfect topic for this series I call “The Rant: A Monday Morning View”. This was an easy one. No research was required to find a keyword on something I could write about and I didn’t sit staring at a blank screen praying for inspiration. Sometimes life just hands you what you need and sometimes it just smacks you square in the a$$ with it.
This story begins on a beautiful morning when I woke up feeling my oats. My mood was exceptionally good as I drove across town to work. I was loving life, riding along with the windows down and the wind in my hair, I had the stereo cranked and I was gleefully singing along (quite loudly) to the latest Stevie Nicks CD. I didn’t have a care in the world until it hit me. I was sitting perfectly still with my foot on the brake, and there it was, that dreaded sound – bam! My head snapped forward and my Jeep was propelled about 30 feet before the sudden stop.
Now, I’m not easily rattled so for a moment I sit there wondering what mechanical monster had just failed in my Jeep. Was it the transmission? The drive train? I have no clue where “drive train” came from. Do Jeeps have one? The rational me took over. Moving the shifter from “drive” to “reverse” seemed to work ok. And then I glanced in the rear view mirror and there it was. The catalyst for the noise and forward thrust was a tiny little woman in a Honda. Guess what she was doing before she hit me while I was sitting still with my brake lights on? Oh yeah, she was talking on her cell phone instead of watching the morning traffic.
Eureka! I had a new hub topic.
It’s time to create the visual so take a look at the photo. This tunnel was part of my route to work for the past year. I traveled through it every morning and every afternoon. It is narrow and on a busy stretch of road so like every other driver with a brain, I always stop and let oncoming traffic pass through first. Stevie Nicks had not broken my courteous spirit and so there I sat, foot on the brake pedal, just waiting. The Honda should have been waiting too but it never saw me and when it hit me at the speed of 45 mph in a 25 mph speed zone, I was propelled like Evil Knieval through that tunnel – with my foot still on the brake. Needless to say, the Jeep took a lickin’ and kept on tickin’ but the Honda went home on a rollback.
So here’s where I make my pitch against the cell phone. That sweet, tiny little woman in the Honda was talking on her cell phone when she encountered the stationary object (my Jeep) in the roadway. She hit the brakes but not in time to avoid leaving 35 feet of skid marks and tearing the front of her Honda up when it impaled itself on my rear bumper and trailer hitch. Was the conversation worth it? I doubt it. It cost her about $1800 to replace my bumper, trailer hitch, and the custom art on my tire cover. We’re both lucky that we weren’t hurt.
If this were the only incident involving someone talking on a cell phone or texting while driving, I could let it go. But, that’s not the case, is it? Two weeks later I was run off the road by a young girl driving at least 70 mph on our expressway where the speed limit is 55 mph. As she started to pass me, I glanced over and saw her texting away as she swerved all over the road. I started to slow down but she suddenly crossed the center line and pushed me to the edge of the road. Again, we were both very lucky.
Confession, it's good for the soul and hopefully will make you go easy on me.
I confess. I am just as much of a dinosaur as my old flip phone. Yes, I still use an old style flip phone and I don't have a text plan with my service provider. I believe there is a time and a place for everything, even a cell phone. I own one and, I use it, in a very limited capacity.
- I use my cell phone when the power goes out and my land line doesn’t work.
- I use my cell phone to report traffic problems – after I pull off the road.
- I use my cell phone if I need to call home when I am out and – I go to the most isolated corner of a store for privacy.
- And, I carry my cell phone with me everywhere, in case of an emergency.
That’s it. I don’t need a cell phone for any other reason. I don’t text and if you send me text, I don’t open it because I’m not going to pay text charges because you don’t want to call or email me.
Concern, because I care about people.
I worry about the next generation. I see them walking around with their heads tucked down, staring at that little gadget in their hand as if it was going to speak to them at any minute. What am I missing? Is there something going on in the world that I don’t know about? Is it so important that it won’t wait until I get home and turn on the news?
What about cell phone safety? No, I don’t mean keeping our cell phone safe. I’m talking about our brains. No one really knows yet what effect that little marvel of technology (that emits radiation) has on our brain and I’m not interested in tempting fate. BTW (by the way), FWIW (for what it’s worth), Brain disease of any type is not something you want. Until they can prove to us that the radiation isn’t causing brain illness, maybe we should try emailing more or talking in person.
Another spin on texting
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Communication, what is being lost?
None of these thoughts are new to me. I’ve been thinking about this for a while. I’ve even wondered if my feelings about the cell phone stem from my control issues. I don’t like being controlled by anyone and I surely am not going to let a gadget that spews Google or Facebook messages control me. Maybe it’s my mother’s voice whispering in my ear again that “a lady should keep some mystery about her”. I just don’t believe that even my BFFs (best friends forever) need to know what I’m doing every minute of the day. My family doesn’t either. If they did know, we wouldn’t have anything to talk about around the dinner table or over a cup coffee.
There is one question I have about the cell phone.. Do writers walk and drive and talk on a cell phone all the time too? Since I’ve only recently started considering myself an amateur writer, I don’t know the answer. As a lover of language and the images it can create with voice inflection or the power of words, I don’t want to replace oral communication with texting slang. It scares me. I think we’re headed in a wrong and dangerous direction. What will our future look like?
- At the rate we’re going, will the next generation lose their voice for lack of use?
- Who will be the voice of the voiceless if we lose the ability to speak firmly, loudly, and effectively?
- Will anyone hear us as we stand on the picket line with signs and heads bowed texting our message to the employer who is discriminating against the older worker or the African American woman?
- Will journalism in print be reduced to text message slang?
- How will we know if CYA means “see ya” or “cover your a$$”?
TBH (to be honest), I don’t plan to ever give up the gift of verbal communication or writing in complete sentences. I’m long past worrying about what someone else thinks and trying to keep up with the Jones’ or whoever they are. Human beings matter to me and we were born with a voice, not a digital black box and I plan to keep on using mine. If you make a different decision, stay the hell off my side of the road and don’t tailgate me going 20 miles faster than me. Deal?
© 2012 Linda Crist, All rights reserved.