Monday, January 18, 2010

Cell Phone Culture

I wake up this morning to find our cell phone drowned. Yes, drowned.

We left it overnight on the counter in our motor home near the sink
faucet. Which sprung a leak. And drowned our phone.

Now that I don't have a cell (for what, all of five hours?), I think
about how cell-phone culture offends me. About how some people live
on their cells and miss the world around them. About how teens text
instead of talk. About how you don't know if people are talking to
you or their cells.

And about how my cell-phone arrogance that came back to smack me a few
weeks ago.

Here's the story.

I'm in Fresno, CA., eating lunch at a Cheesecake Factory. I know, it's
a chain, and we should seek out a local eatery to support the local
marketplace. But we've never eaten at a Cheesecake Factory and I want
the experience (OK, I really want cheesecake, too.).

We're escorted to our seats by a smiling young woman with white white
teeth. She introduces us to our server, another young woman with
those teeth. Everyone is smiling.

All around us people smile, talk and enjoy themselves as they dine on
sumptuous, freshly prepared fare (I savor my veggie dish in a spicy
peanut sauce.)

And then there's the fellow in the booth next to us. I'll call him
Fred, because he looks like Fred Flintstone. He's not smiling; he's on
his cell, repeatedly. It rings (like an old-fashioned wall phone) and
he answers "Royers Hauling Service. (I made up the name, but it was a
hauling service). And he does business between bites. Between my
bites, too.

The man's business is booming and ruining my lunch. Because it annoys
me. Geesh!

And then there's his 5-year-old son, who has nothing to do because his
dad's on the phone so much, so he's standing up in the booth, playing
peek-a-boo with me.

But I love it. Now I'm having a great time because I love kids. I'm
thinking, though, that any minute, this man, who's rude enough to
invade my lunch-time space with his work-place phone calls, is going
to tell his son to "SIT DOWN AND DON'T BOTHER THE LADY." HA! I think
to myself. What a dichotomy. He's the one being rude, not his son.
But it doesn't happen.

The man, still on the phone, makes eye contact with me and raises
his eyebrows and nods his head, as if to say, "Hey, lady, it is OK
for my son to play with you?" HOW KIND!

I nod YES! And the kid and I giggle.

And here's the rest of the story. As we pack up to leave, we learn
it's winter break for the kids (even kindergardeners) and this dad
has to take care of his son all week.

This was their lunch break.

So what's a working dad to do? Well, I think, I guess you just keep
your cell phone turned on to do business when you can, even during

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