Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Cell Phone Sins

Many people don’t hesitate to bring out their cell phone anywhere or any time. Does it give them a natural high to reaffirm their own self importance, i.e. VIPness? Cell phones annoy the heck out of me as do the people who use them with such a sense of urgency. Take it outside, if you must gab away, and don’t expect me to listen to your conversation because I-Just-Don’t-Care!

cell phone

In the early 90’s my husband had a “mobile phone” he used for work, a heavy cumbersome thing that was hooked up to his dashboard in his car. I thought that was a great concept. A few years later, cell phones became the rage and I bought one for a good reason. My cell phone was a safety tool I kept with me during the rides to and from swim practice with five or six kids in my car, many times at 9:30 or 10:00 at night. I didn’t even consider chatting on that phone. We insisted that Gina carry a cell phone when she got her driver’s license, too, and she was told to pull over and park her car before picking up the phone to call anyone.


I realize times have changed and a lot of people don’t even have land lines anymore. And sometimes I wonder how we ever managed without cell phones. I think the most value I ever placed on having a cell phone was a few years ago when Gina and I were driving from Wilmington, NC to Delaware in our separate cars. It was our first time taking a route through Virginia and we were lost a few times that day – a horrid trip but funny in retrospect! We were in heavy beach traffic on Rt. 64 in Norfolk/Virginia Beach, looking for the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. Following Gina, I wasn’t speedy enough to stay close behind her and it was difficult for me to read the signs since my right contact lens popped out and I later found it dried up and crispy on the steering wheel. I looked to my right and there went Gina in her little green Cabrio, disappearing from my sight down an exit ramp, while I was being pushed straight ahead by the heavy flow of traffic. Ooops. Twenty minutes later, we reunited on the parking lot of a Walmart store, thanks to our cell phones.

This post started out cranky and this is why. While waiting in line with two people ahead of me at the grocery store today, a woman at the checkout counter was having a conversation on her cell phone. And she blabbered away the entire time her items were being scanned and bagged. I estimated her age to be around forty, dressed in business attire, and I had plenty of time to determine it was a business-related call having to do with rescheduling an appointment. Now, how urgent can that be, I ask? She finished the conversation and while rooting through her ridiculously enormous black leather bag for her debit card, her phone rang again. She answered, of course, and continued the conversation where it left off seconds before… This is when the cashier, the man in front of me and I exchanged a quick glance. Then we started shifting our weight from one leg to the other witih hands on hips. This high and mighty woman had the audacity to raise her pointer finger up at the cashier as if to say, “Wait just a minute”. She turned and faced the opposite direction of the register, cashier, and the two poor fools in line who were waiting for her to put the phone away. Forty-five seconds is a long time to hold up a grocery store line of people, especially when you are in the “10 items or less lane”. Our jaws hung open. I wanted to shout, “Just end the freaking call, woman!”

Unfortunately, this type of person is far too common. She didn’t apologize to the cashier and I wasn’t surprised. Sometimes we wonder why America’s children seem to be self-centered, preoccupied with their popularity, and grow up to be rude and disrespectful adults. I’m certain that “cell phone be-och” made her contribution by setting an example for her own kids…

Had to vent and I feel better now.

I sneaked out of the office twice today for a 15 minute walk and here is what I found. By the way, it was 65 degrees today, nice enough for a light jacket!


There were about five Fox Sparrows digging around and they knew I was approaching so I kept my distance. They’re not a lifer for me, but I rarely see them. They blend in well, look closely or enlarge.


Mystery bird. I’ve been watching this bird dart around the treetops for weeks. It’s very tiny, has a bright yellow belly, and clings and flits back and forth at the top of the highest pine trees. Difficult to catch by camera fifty feet below! Here’s another.


It could be a Kinglet but I know I can’t rely on a guess. I’ll be looking for more photo opportunities.


I saved the best for last. Yes, it’s only a male Downy Woodpecker, but it’s a lifer for me. When I caught sight of this black and white display, I stopped dead in my tracks and took one shot. He fled instantly. Oh, I wish I could have moved in closer!


Ruth said...

I can't believe we wrote about the same topic! I absolutely agree with you. Cell phones can be so annoying. Mine stays in the car 99% of the time. It is great to be connected, but I don't need a little gadget taking over my life.

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

Yay on the downy lifer!!
I know how you feel about the cell phone twit. What has happened to manners? I find myself less tolerant of rudeness the older I get.

Anonymous said...

Congrats on a new lifer? I love woodpeckers and this is a great photo!
I *love* your cell phone comics. I just wrote about this same topic on someone else's blog wherein they were ranting about rude people at the gym, including cell phone usage.
Mine is in my purse, next to me when I'm on the computer, and next to my bed at night. If it rings while I'm in the store I check to make sure it isn't one of my parents and I let it go to VM until I'm done doing whatever I'm doing.
Are people so damned important or lonely that they just can't let it go until they're done doing whatever it is they're doing. Oh, and those with the blue tooths look like they're talking to themselves until you see the ear piece.

Anonymous said...

Argh, it's late. That's supposed to read "Congrats on the new lifer with and ! instead of ? mark.

LauraHinNJ said...

Cell phones make me feel really unpopular cause no one but my husband ever calls me!

I hate them and think people are ridiculous!

I would love to get rid of my land line and just have the cell - I never use either - just don't like talking on the phone.

I have to ponder your yellow bird for a while - not a kinglet - too big and too yellow. The shade of yellow doesn't look right for a pine warbler either. Maybe Susan or Monarch will know!

Jayne said...

I feel the same way about people who can't put the #$%@* phone down from their ear for one minute to pay attention to the person they are interacting with. Makes me nuts!

Not sure about the mystery bird either...hmmmm...

KGMom said...

Mary--in my teaching, I encounter cell phones in class. I show a video (
It is sooooo funny, and gets the point across to my students. I tell them--cell phone goes off, you're dead--you have to see the video to understand.
One problem with cell phones in class--kids can cheat with them, so during exams, I tell them anyone seen with a cell phone in hand FAILS the test!

Mary said...

Ruth - while I'm in the nail or hair salon, my phone is in the car. I don't need to be interrupted. But I see customers in those salons who talk on theirs non-stop. I get annoyed with the constant chatter.

Lynne - "manners" flew out the window.

Pam - I keep mine on my desk at work and at home, it sits in a convenient location in the kitchen. I don't keep it glued to me like some people do.

Laura - I'm unpopular, too. The only calls I receive on my cell phone are from my husband, my daughter, and from my brother.

Jayne - Don't you feel like bitchin' them out?

Donna - I screamed at that video - it's hilarious! And I love your threats to the students. They'll mute their ring but insist on text messaging. When I worked at the high school, cell phones were prohibited on campus. That was 5 years ago and I don't know if that's still the case. Thanks for the laugh!

Annie in Austin said...

Cellphones in the store may be annoying, but at least they don't feel life-threatening... it's the people who nearly turn into other cars while talking on the phone that scare the heck out of me.

Could your bird be a Philadelphia Vireo? It's described as "yellowish below".

Last weekend I saw a common old Robin and was excited - they were always present in Illinois, but this was the first one we'd seen in either of our Austin gardens.

I can't believe your rose bush is already blooming!

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

dguzman said...

maybe a prairie warbler? did you hear a call or song?

I too was really excited to see my first downy; now they're at my backyard suet feeder every day, but I still get a big kick out of them. And that's a great photo! I wish I could walk outside work in such great surroundings!

dguzman said...

oh, and great cell phone rant--I'm right there with ya. I would estimate that at least 80% of the kids I see walking around at Penn State are on their phones, plus at least 70% have an IPod going in their other ears! Unbelievable.

Anonymous said...

Hmm, thought I had commented on this already! Guess not! I love my cell phone but then again they drive me crazy! My ringer does a bird singing and 9/10 times most people don't pick up on the winterwren sounds like.

Mary said...

Delia, thanks for stopping by! Now I'm on my way to visit you.

At first I was thinking it's a Kinglet but now I'm taking your advice, Prairie Warbler or possibly a Pine Warbler. This little bird stays high up in the pines. Very hard to see!

Mary said...

Annie, the flower aren't blooming yet but the bush is coming back to life :)

Mon@rch, any ideas on that little yellow bird?

Cathy said...

Mary - How about a Pine Warbler?

Don't get me started on rude cell phone users. My blood pressure is starting to rise just thinking about my close-encounters of the worst kind.

Mary said...

Cathy - I think you're right. I'm going to call it a Pine Warbler. I'm after that little bird but it's so far up there!!!!

dmmgmfm said...

Somehow I missed this post. I'm so glad I popped in today and saw both of them. You brightened my day as usual Mary.