I am told I have atrocious manners and have often been deemed unfit for “society.” Let me explain why.
I own a cell phone that I use at will. Only during working hours am I attentive to it and other than that my phone could ring from here to eternity and I wouldn’t care who’s calling [except if it’s George Clooney, but it never is]. Also, the silent mode is my preferred mode, and even though it hasn’t caused any earth-shattering missed calls yet, I am often [angrily] questioned why I own a mobile if I don’t answer each call. My answer “Because, I own the phone; the phone doesn’t own me,” annoys a lot of people. But, then, I do have atrocious manners and am unfit for society anyway.
Glue to your ear
Looking at the way people are with and around their “hell” phones, sorry cell phones, you wonder how they survived before their invention. Phones glued to their ears throughout the day, no matter where or with whom they are talking and, if done, they are squinting into the screen, furiously typing out or forwarding a text message. A friend proudly told me that he hasn’t switched off his cell phone even once in all the four years that’s he’s owned it. He carries it with him no matter where he is going [yes, even to the toilet], because you never know who might call. Wow!
Stop the traffic, if you must, but don’t stop yourself from taking every call on your cell. How many times have you seen or faced a driver barking into the mobile cradled between his shoulder and ear, driving with one hand, swerving dangerously or breaking suddenly and possibly because he just heard that the Indian cricket team actually won a “lost” match!
At the movies, you are on the edge of your seat, popcorn and samosa forgotten, because the heroine is just about to reveal the name of the father of her illegitimate, unborn child and suddenly your neighbour’s mobile rings, sorry sings, “Jhalak dikh laja” loudly. You turn to glare at him but he’s too busy yelling into the phone to care. And, it’s okay, really. After all, we carve out precious time and shell out precious dough to buy those expensive tickets to movies, plays or concerts not because we want to watch the artists perform, but because we want to hear our neighbours discussing their shares with their broker or telling their girlfriend how much they miss her.
How many times have you seen people talking to no one at all? Walking down the road, driving to work or standing at windows and talking away to no one you can see.
You would be as confused, as I was initially, until you saw an almost invisible wire or a device protruding from one side of the face and realisation struck that it was a wonder of technology, the “hands-free” set. A wonderful device that helps you remain glued to your cell phone without it being around but doesn’t do much for your image unless people around you are habituated to seeing you talking [in]to thin air.
Like every dark cloud has a silver lining, there are some pluses too. Like, if you’re walking home and someone attacks you, don’t panic. Just press some button on your cell phone and a picture of Michael Jackson will appear, frightening the person. For added safety, hold the button down and Michael will scream, “Beat it! Just beat it!”
You are safe.
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