When did it happen when we couldn’t walk without a cell phone?

3/3/14 – The creature that lurks in public places:

Everyone has a pet peeve, and I am no different (however, I have been told that I am “unique” - which I think is just a cute and polite way of saying that I am just weird…) 

But I think mine is more than just a pet peeve, it may even be a legitimate concern for what is happening to our society. It has changed the way people live, so much to the point they can’t accomplish anything without having it. It is like an appendage that has slowly evolved over time and has become like an extension of our own bodies. It has become as commonplace as a Tim Hortons that sits on every street corner in Canada. What am I babbling about, that small conspicuous device of technology that people feel the need to have on them at all times of the day and night, no matter where they or are or what they are doing they must have it, the Cell Phone!

Ok, I have admitted before in a previous post that I don’t even have a cell phone.  However, there was a time I used to have one, when I had to travel for work, and it was more for security and emergencies than for socializing or doing whatever some people do on it now. (of course it was a few years ago) It was not fancy and it was the most basic of cell phones that you could get, you could only talk on it…(what a concept) I can feel people cringing right now… But when I started to work from home, what was the point? I threw it in my desk drawer and now it is as extinct as the Dodo bird.

Even my parents are more in tune with technology today than ever before – which totally surprised me; they thought using a microwave was advanced technology. But a couple of years ago they finally got a cell phone, now if my Dad would only remember to turn it on… but then again, he really only has it to order a Pizza or Chinese food on their way home from the theatre….

When the cell phone first became accessible to the masses, I honestly thought it was just another fad… (Boy did I get that wrong!) It is now considered a must have. People actually think that you are the strange one if you don't have one. They stare at you in amazement trying to figure out how you can even function in life... It has become so advanced that no one actually talks on it anymore, you either text, take pictures, surf the Internet, or watch TV!  You basically do everything but talk…To some I think it has become a status symbol of sorts, for the “in” crowd or celebrity “wannabes” We have all seen those types, using their phones and parading around like they are a VIP walking down the red carpet.

Looking back, things sure have changed over the years and all in the name of progress. (maybe I am just getting old) – I remember when I was young (oh so very long ago, but I can still remember, that is a good sign) my friend had an Atari, (I think it was the first gaming computer on the market at that time - now it is Playstation and Nintendo) that was the coolest thing ever at the time, we would spend hours trying to prevent the DOT from getting into the imaginary goal with a little solid LINE, I am describing the ping pong game – there wasn’t much of a choice back then…  (maybe the old saying applies here, “small things amuse small minds”) – we have certainly come a long way since DOTS and LINES on a computer screen – thank God for that… but maybe things would be a lot different today if we still had a dot and line…

Technology is practically tied to everything we do now, from medical procedures to the more mundane things like making toast – have you seen some of those toasters out there, you need to take a collage course before you can use it! 

Not that I am saying technology is a bad thing. I am the first to admit I get withdrawals if I have not been near my computer in a few hours, and who could really live without email or enjoy the luxury of not having to get up and change the channel on the TV. (For the younger generation: yes, there was a time when you had to actually get up off the couch and walk over to the TV and physically turn a knob to change the channel – lucky at that time there was only a few stations to choose from so you really didn’t have to get up that often.)  Maybe there would not be a problem with people being overweight today if we started to get up and at least walk to the TV again… Guess that is why Wii was invented…

Technology has done a lot of good besides just providing us with the creature comforts that we think we need. It sure has made our lives a lot easier - (or has it...) 

But I am getting off topic, and that is not really the problem that I have (probably save that for another rant) my problem with the cell phone is how some people have taken the cell phone and use it to the extreme. I am not referring to all people who have or use a cell phone. I believe that they really do come in handy (hmm, maybe that is why the German’s call it a ‘handy’) and cell phones do have a useful place in our society along with all our other technology infested homes to ease our stressful and busy lives. It has practically become a necessity; ever try to find a public phone booth when you are lost? (Guess I wouldn’t have that problem if I had a cell phone….) 
freedigitalphotos.net - By jesadaphorn

What bothers me are the extremists, or hard core CPAP (Cell Phone Addicted Person) - (yes, I made up an acronym for them J )  You find them everywhere using their cell phones; in cars, walking on the street, in banks and stores, the movie theater, the beach, and even public washrooms…When was the moment that we started not being able to go anywhere or function for that matter, without a cell phone? 

Really, do you need to talk on the phone when you are in a public washroom? This actually happened; I was in the stall next to someone and she started to say hello, I was about to answer her with the usual “ yes, I have some extra toilet paper” when I realized she wasn’t talking to me at all, she was on her cell phone. What could be that important that you couldn’t wait to finish your “business”? – There must be some very important people that use the Walmart restrooms...

The CPAP (Cell Phone Addicted Person) feel the need to walk around with their cell phones attached to their ear or at least have it snugly cupped in their hand, wearing it like a glove. To them it is just another extremity attached to their body. I swear they would need to get their cell phone surgically removed in order to put it down. You can always identify a CPAP (Cell Phone Addicted Person) – they are the ones’ that look like they are talking to themselves (years ago people who did that were locked up) or they have their head bent staring with intent concentration at their hand. They are so preoccupied with it that what ever is going on around them is non-existent. Some are just downright rude!

I get the feeling that they believe they are the center of the universe. There is also an air of entitlement that surrounds a CPAP (Cell Phone Addicted Person)  The rest of us should just maneuver around them, after all they are VIP’s - I am important, I am using my cell phone, you get out of my way…

Obviously the cell phone has proven itself to be another form of interruption and a distraction keeping people from focusing on the task at hand. It has gotten so out of control we now have to ban cell phones in a lot of public places because they are so disruptive and have even went as far as to pass laws to protect us from the sometimes deadly use of this small device. Who would of thought it would come to this! (Wonder what Alexander Graham Bell would think)

On city streets pedestrians were actually getting hit by cars because of the cell phone – and it wasn’t the driver of the car who was at fault. I kid you not! In Toronto Ontario people were getting struck by cars because they were not paying attention when they were walking and crossing at a cross walk. It became such an epidemic the city actually started to fine people for using their phone in order to save their lives! Guess we have long since lost Common Sense… 

The CPAP (Cell Phone Addicted Person) can be spotted right away if they are driving their car. They are usually the one’s going way under the speed limit, and then when they are finished they blow by you so fast that it almost makes your car spin. (On a serious note: those people are just downright dangerous on the road). More places should enforce this law for making cell phones illegal while driving - Florida for one. I actually counted as I was pulling up to at a stop light once, (in case you were wondering, I was a passenger at the time) out of the five cars I could see as we slowed to stop, three were on the cell phone…

Do people really need to use the phone when they are at the grocery store? The CPAP (Cell Phone Addicted Person) has a tendency to clog up the isles in the grocery and department stores. Apparently they are more important that you. After all, they are the center of the universe and you apparently don’t exist in their world. 

We have all experienced this one, ever been in line and the person in front of you is on their cell, be it talking or texting, The cashier sees how long the line is getting and is patiently waiting for the person to just pay them and be on their way. You can see the frustration in her face and her eyes are apologizing to you for the person holding up the line. (Why should the cashier apologize to you, the CPAP should!) Of course, the CPAP is oblivious to all this, and we are just supposed to just wait until they have completed their very important call. (maybe it was from the president…)

freedigitalphotos.net - by cooldesign
I think cashiers should have the right to refuse a customer who is on a cell phone There should be signs posted at all cash outs like the signs they have for 20 items or less – “Cell Free Zone”  Or maybe stores should just post the same type of signs like they did with smoking
No Cell Phone Use within 50 feet

I have often wondered about the one’s that can’t even shop without having to be blabbing constantly on their phone. Does it make them feel important, or maybe it gives them that ‘celebrity status’ feeling when they have a phone attached to their ear?  Sure they are convenient to have, (I sure could of used one when my car broke down and the phone booth I did find had the telephone book ripped out, so it really wasn’t that useful at all) but really, how important could that call be while you are picking up milk and bread… Does the average person really need to be available at all times to whoever might call them? Maybe it is just some form of addiction, like drugs, alcohol or smoking, some get hooked while others don’t…

Call me old fashioned, but what ever happened to someone leaving a message if you were not home? I think the answering machine was a really good invention, and made a great companion for the home telephone. If you were busy, or not home someone who called just left a message - wow amazing - and when you got home or had finished doing what you were doing, you either called them back or ignored them – (For the younger generation: yes, you could “ignore” people just as easily with an answering machine as with a cell phone, although you don’t have to push a button, you just never call back… - Believe it or not, there was a time even before the answering machine when people just had to call you back if they didn’t get an answer the first time)how did we ever survive! 

I guess everyone has an addiction to technology in some form or another, I admit that my weakness is my computer, and all my other creature comforts of electronics that I use on a daily basis. 

I guess it just comes down to the real issue that some people have lost the ability to be polite when they are using their cell phone. Like I said, not everyone falls into this category, but I see more and more of it everyday…

I think I have the solution: Everyone who buys a cell phone should have to take an etiquette test. Just like going for a driver’s licence. Teaching how to be polite and considerate to others around you and where and when it is the appropriate place to use your cell phone. (Damn, that wouldn't work, ever see the way some people drive - you could swear they got their licence from a Cracker Jack box!)

I do know one thing for sure, as much as we try there are just some things we can’t multi-task, after all we are still human – at least for nowLike it or not, I don’t think the cell phone is going to fade away like the 8-track. 

Anyway, for the most part I really have nothing against the cell phone and for most of the people that do use one, but I just wish that some good old common courtesy would come back in style when that select group of people are using them…

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