For whom the cell tolls

It was last Halloween when I first knew something was wrong. I was at my friend's house, talking with her 7-year-old daughter, who was dressed as Superman (she didn't dig Wonder Woman's "invisible plane"). Me: "So, when you come out of the phone booth, who are you going to be? Claire Kent?” Her: “What's a phone booth?”

About a month later, I was walking out of the post office, but as I held the door open for the lady behind me I did not hear the customary "Thank you". Maybe, she's having a crappy day, I thought to myself.

Next, I noticed that [her use of] turn signals had totally disappeared. Were they deemed uncool, like Velcro shoes? Surely I wasn't that out of touch with youth.

But, I wasn't truly frightened until last week at Ingle's. There I was minding my own business in the canned meat aisle, when I saw them. Immediately I noticed their "Night of the Living Dead" gait towards me. It was a mother and her two daughters, zombie texting both at the same time. I swerved my cart hard to the left, slamming my back up against the Beanie Weenies as this Blackberry train of shame staggered obliviously by. And that's when it hit me: Maybe they were texting each other? Maybe that's how we've always communicated with each other?

I now live in a Twilight Zone episode. Some days I feel like Rowdy Rowdy Piper and wish I had never found those sunglasses. As I stand in the checkout line watching the guy in front of me argue with his cellphone, I wonder: Maybe I'm on Candid Camera and this isn't real? That couple in the restaurant pressing cold lumps of electronic plastic against their faces is normal. The husband calling his wife from across the store is just pulling my leg.

Some days, depending on the ring tone, I can actually hear the moral fabric of society tearing. Maybe I'm mad because I hate rudeness, or maybe its because cellphones are slowly turning me into Abe Simpson — but it seems like some people are so self-absorbed they forget they are sharing a road, bank, Waffle House with other humans — Oh, wait a second, my phone's ringing.

— Paul Mayer
Asheville

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One thought on “For whom the cell tolls

  1. travelah

    Paul, you should have stepped back and let the moronic texties slam straight into your cart with a clatter and then smile as you reach for a can of beanies

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