Yeah, I know, people use their cell phones too much blah blah blah, I'm not uncovering anything novel here. But I'm going to write about it anyway.
A few weeks ago J and I were out to dinner and a few tables down from us was this guy and girl who - I am telling you - were each looking at their phones for, I'd say, 95 percent of the meal. Like, they were talking to each other, but they were talking in this stilted, not fully-engaged sort of way, and also I'm pretty sure they were talking a lot about whatever they were looking at on their phones. Tweets. Texts. Stuff like that. We were pretty sure they were the worst people on Earth. Or, in that restaurant, anyway.
I like tweets. I like texts. And I will tell you right now that when I first got my BlackBerry a couple years ago, I was like, "Holy Hell look at all my emails!" And I was like that a lot and I was probably like that at inappropriate times, for instance when I was having a serious discussion with my husband or when I was stopped at a stop light (I promise I don't do that one anymore, ever). However, I'm over it and now find a certain solace in putting my phone away for most of the day, someplace I can't see it. Or even better, turning it off.
But I get it that phones nowadays are cool, like especially the iPhone my husband has. The new kind. And it has all those apps and everything and it helps us locate shops and restaurants and helps us look up breaking news or the definition of a political movement that we don't understand.
When you're talking to someone though - as in, speaking to them with your face and voice and mouth because you're a human, and that is how humans speak to one another - and they are looking at their phone instead of listening to you (even though they say they are listening to you and it's fine), well, my question is, do you have a right to lose it on them? Specifically, do you have the right to dip their phone, ever so gently, right in your fucking cup of hot coffee?
You guys, I am not singling my darling husband out. I mean, ahem, we have had some discussions about his love affair with his iPhone and I think he gets where I'm coming from, although, "I was at work all day and I didn't get to play with my phone" is not really a valid excuse because in my book.
My father has a bit of a problem with his phone, too, relentlessly pounding out emails on his BlackBerry during many of his waking hours, and I've explained to him on several occasions that if he doesn't put it away I am going to put it away for him. On the road, under my car, because I will be running it over. He explains that "these people" (those on the receiving end of his various emails) need him and he's got to respond right away, and then I explain that if everybody played by no rules we could just say goodbye to normal conversation and go completely electronic. Because that, again, is not a valid excuse. I told him once that he was going to get cancer in all the tips of his fingers - that I'd heard a report that that could happen on the news (I totally didn't, obviously) and that solved the problem for about five minutes. Then he overcame the fear, or realized that I was lying, one of the two.
With J and my dad, I joke, and sometimes venture towards real anger, but truthfully they're both very receptive to my complaints and are wonderful people, too. Do you see how I threw that in? That's so nobody gets mad at me.
I also realize that my anger regarding overuse of phones could be aggravated by the fact that I'm home with a two-year-old a lot of the time, and when I'm talking to someone who isn't two, damnit, I want them to pay attention to me. I need attention, you guys!
No kidding around, though, the problem I have is that I think it's rude. Where'd our manners go? I understand leaving your phone out on the table at dinner when you're waiting for a super important call, or for another member of the party to show up or call for directions. And it's totally valid to see who is calling when your phone rings, to answer, and to look at texts or whatever else from time to time. But sometimes, especially when you're with people, put it away, come on! If you're doing something nice with a real person, put the phone down. Just do it. I have put cell phones in the toilet before - two of them - and sure, those were accidents, but I'd have no problem doing it again if I saw just cause. On purpose this time. And I might regret it for a second or two, when you threaten to kill me, but you wanna know what? I wouldn't regret it for long.