The Yack-Yack Club ~ by Allen Kopp
When you’re making your way home in rush-hour traffic after a demoralizing day at the office, it’s scary to think that as many as twenty to thirty percent of drivers on the road are yapping or texting on cell phones. They don’t signal when they should and their driving is erratic, at best. Not only are they jeopardizing their own life and limb, but they are also jeopardizing yours. There are statistics about traffic accidents caused by driver inattention, but how many of those are caused by driver inattention due to cell phone use?
People like me who are not addicted to cell phones don’t understand the attraction. I have a cell phone that I use only for emergencies, and I hate it. I have never sent or received a text message because I have no desire to do so. I can be reached on the phone when I’m at home, but when I’m out somewhere there is nobody in the world I care to talk to. Being away from home means I cannot be reached by phone and I don’t want to be bothered. Leave a message and I’ll call you back when I get home if I feel like it.
Like it or not, I’ve seen advanced cases of cell phone addiction. On the first day of a new job, when I was introduced to a woman who was to be my co-worker, she was yacking on the cell phone and couldn’t put it down long enough to meet me. She yacked on her cell phone almost the entire time I knew her. She told me she never turned her cell phone off, even when she was sleeping, meaning that she was available to receive callers, not only during the day, but also all night long. When we flew on a business trip, she was indignant that airline safety regulations required that her cell phone be turned off. She turned it back on the first second she was allowed to—you could see the relief written all over her. Just think of the important calls that came in when she was thirty-five thousand feet in the air!
And then there are the people who wear the cell phone in their ear all the time, without having to hold it in their hands. When you’re at the mall or in some other public place and someone comes near you and says something, you think, wrongly, that they are talking to you. What they are doing is merrily pretending you don’t exist while regaling you with their idiotic cell phone banter in a very loud voice. (“Well, I’m at the mall. Where the f**k do you think I’m at? Don’t you remember I said I was going to the f**kin’ mall? Well, where the f**k are you at? Well, what the f**k are you doing there? Don’t you remember you were supposed to…”) Did they forget their manners, or did they just not have any manners to begin with?
Speaking of bad manners, what about the person you’re having lunch with who drags out his cell phone and gets or receives a call right after placing the order with the waiter? Does he think I came out to lunch with him to sit silently while I listen to his inane conversation with his ex-wife or his teenage son? I might as well be back at my desk listening to the fluorescent light hum above my head.
I’ve heard people yapping into cell phones in public places in Chinese or other foreign languages. I’ve heard people yapping into cell phones at five-thirty in the morning when I’m lucky to be able to put one foot in front of the other. I’ve seen a woman bring out a cell phone at the movie theatre during a very loud movie and talk over the movie. I’ve seen people who can’t leave their cell phones alone long enough to have their kidney stones irradiated, vote, or renew their driver’s license. I’ve seen a woman talking into a cell phone while eating a salad and nursing a baby at the same time. I’ve seen people on roller skates talking on cell phones. (If alien intelligences are picking up all the cell phone jibber-jabber from earth, they will conclude that the planet does not have intelligent life on it as previously thought.) I sometimes wonder what all those people are saying and who they are talking to. All I know for sure is they are not talking to me.
Copyright © 2015 by Allen Kopp