Saturday, September 18, 2010

Crossing the street

Yesterday on the eve of my birthday, my cell phone decided to break.  I could speak but I could not hear anything coming from the tiny slit in the top of the phone.

Cell phones are necessary evils.  A few weeks ago, I got a letter from Verizon.  It said "Your cell phone is your life."  Really?  I thought my life was music, friends, sunshine, and all of those things that make life worth living.  The cell phone does not connect to my autonomic nervous system so if it goes dead, I don't.  So how could it be my LIFE?

A few years ago, I worked at writing a surgical technology course for a community college in Manassas, Virginia.  And several times I was asked to proctor tests so that the usual instructor could goof off.  When I asked that ALL cell phones were to be placed on my desk during testing, several people insisted that this could NEVER happen.  "I have my baby at home."  "My mother is sick and she needs to call."  Well, if you have a baby at home, I would assume that SOMEONE is watching either him or her.  (Never NEVER call a baby an "it"!!)  And if your mother is sick, she will either get better, get worse, or die.  Either way, you can do without the phone for 20 minutes.  Really, you can.  The one thing that these students realized that day is that breaking physical contact with the cell phone does not result in having both of your lungs collapse or cause blood to pour from your eyes.  You'll survive.

Verizon found that to fix the hearing thingy, they needed to give me a new phone.  And by the way, if you ever think that Verizon could save money by having you drop the phone off and return when it's fixed, then you have absolutely no idea how much money Verizon makes.  They can replace your cell phone daily for the next thousand years and their bottom line won't flinch.  And besides, your lungs would collapse.

On the way home from Verizonland, I turned at an intersection where there were no stop signs.  As I rounded the corner, two young men who appeared to be their early 20's were crossing the street.  This literally took about 30 seconds, which in the scheme of things, was not significant.  But I have seen one year old babies crawl faster than these guys could walk.  And after that period of time, I had to steer around them.  I leaned out of the car and said "Gentlemen, that is a good way to die!!"  The taller of the two geniuses yelled "Well next time, drive slower."  I guess he didn't notice that I was STOPPED, so I told him so.  He then said "So don't drive."  And that was the first time in my life that I thought about hiring a chauffeur like Miss Daisy had.  Let the chauffeur worry about all of the goofballs of the world.  Curbside pickup at the ball park or supermarket.  "Here Bitterman, put the groceries in the trunk and take me home through the park;  you know how I love the park."  Heaven.

Society today (at least in Pittsburgh) clings too tightly to material things, especially when that material thing can put you in touch with friends in an instant.  But would we be as clingy to those same friends and family if we had our cell phones taken away from us?  Would we talk to our best friend every 5 minutes if it costs a quarter to call them?  And TALK to them, not SPELL?   Most people would text to their friends in their sleep if they could.  Oh Nicole, OMG, like it's me and like I love using the word "like" and like, it's like kewl.

So please PLEASE be careful crossing the street and can you please pick up the pace a bit even if you are on the phone?  After all, you may cost me 30 seconds and then I'd have to deal with paying my chauffeur overtime.


  1. Welcome back to the blogosphere, Bob! And a belated happy birthday!

    (At first I typed "a bleated happy birthday" -- that's baaaaaad.)


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