Friday, April 2, 2010

Tring trriiiiiiiiing!!

Mobile Phones are the root of all evil.

Until we came up with cell phones, things were fine… people had friends, spent time with them, then went home and read or something. And then, the menace of the cell phone was born.

Suddenly people can no longer make or remember plans.

“So, I’ll meet you here tomorrow evening?” says one to the other. Other goes home and calls One to confirm the plan. Next, One ‘messages’ Other, to say she’s really sorry but she’ll be slightly late. Thereafter, Other replies saying it’s no problem, should they meet another day instead? The next day, One calls to say her other plan has been postponed, does Other still want to meet up this evening? But Other now has new plans, she promises to check and get back to One. Other checks and finds she can meet One after all, but in the mean time, One’s cell phone has run out of battery, so she cannot be contacted. Other does not know what to do, now! Should she meet her other friends instead, or should she keep trying to get in touch with One? And so it goes on… till that evening… when they meet, just as they had planned the previous day.

On the surface the outcome appears to be the same. They plan to meet, and they do… but NO! Things are not the same! The interim period, between the two meetings which might have been constructively spent reading or thinking or eating or sleeping or planning… or anything else, was completely consumed by the cell phone!! Aargh!

Cell phones are monsters that feed on time. They eat it. They rip it to shreds, masticate it, mutilate it, and slurp it up at an alarming rate.

One gets home after a day at college, and decides she’s going to read this much, watch this movie, and do this assignment, today. Plenty of time to wash clothes, have dinner with a few friends, and generally day-dream. All is happy… and then, the cell phone rings. And before you know it, the day is over. One call after another… they came in droves, reinforcements arriving just as one set of offenders was flagging. First it was a friend she hadn’t spoken to in months. So One spoke to her, caught up on things… the moment she put down the phone, her mother called. That took some time. The level of her bank balance had to be explained. That was delicate! While she was on the phone with her mother, her boyfriend called… and she’d just had a fight with him, so ignoring his call hadn’t been a very nice thing. She has to call back immediately and sort things out. In between, her best friend called, upset about something. That had to be dealt with. A teacher called, to ask her to make a presentation for some up-coming program… all completely unavoidable. In between, a zillion people sent her messages about minor pressing issues, all of which had to be dealt with… what is poor One to do? At the end of all this, the only thing she can do is collapse into bed. There goes any hope of constructive work. Bleah.

I wonder, though… what did people do before we had cell phones?

Clearly, a lot more than we do today!

Cell phones murder manners.

Looking at someone when you’re speaking to them, is basic courtesy. If, however, One has a cell phone in One’s hand, One is excused from this rule. Messaging , or playing a video game when One is talking to someone, is apparently perfectly acceptable. As is breaking off a conversation with the person in front of you to answer a call… and walking off for an hour or so, on that call.

Suddenly, whoever it is at the other end of the line takes precedence over the person who is physically present before One. Clearly this is rather a strange state of affairs! It is downright rude, and insulting!

Cell Phones appear to retard mentally.

Earlier, if One had a problem, One had to deal with it. It was simple. Now, if One has a problem, she reaches immediately for her phone and calls Other. If One is bored, One calls Other. If One is sleepy, One calls Other. If Other is hungry, Other calls One. And so on. We are fast losing the ability to be individuals. Soon we will all coalesce into one gooey mass, held together by cell phones.

Cell Phones cause worry.

Earlier, if One said she’d be back at this time, no one thought anything of it, till she showed up at that time. These days, her mother can call and find out where she is at any time. Her boyfriend can fix up to meet her at any time… unless the battery runs out… or she goes out of range… or it’s on silent and she doesn’t notice. Any of these occurrences would drive her mother and everyone else who tried to call her, mad! They would worry, get annoyed and upset by turn…

The inability to contact a person on their cell phone, leads to all sorts of outlandish speculations and worries… Is she safe? Has there been an accident? Has he got lost? Has she been raped? Has he been kidnapped? Has she been eaten by a tiger? Has he turned into an ant? Such are the questions that enter the mind of a perfectly rational individual on not being able to contact a son/daughter/spouse/friend/ parent on their cell phone. In earlier times, the question of calling them never arose, so being unable to contact them was never an issue. In today’s world, however….

Cell phones cause relationship mortality.

Cell phones also contribute no end to marital and other within-relationship discord. Apart from the aforementioned habit of causing worry where none existed before, cell phones wreak havoc with long distance relationships. It is natural to assume that the existence of cell phones would make long distance relationships easier to manage… and it is this delusion under which we all labour that, I personally find most disturbing. Far from making things any easier, cell phones are a menace which haunt relationships.

Having been accustomed to regular contact with the Other person, One naturally assumes that cell phone conversations will take the place of all the time they time they spent in each other’s company. WRONG! Both individuals have their own lives, and schedules which do not coincide. Earlier this meant making time to be together… but the existence of the cell phone precludes something so planned! Because each possesses a cell phone, neither can ‘make time’ to spend with the other, under the assumption that they can call at a moment’s notice. But it is never a convenient time for One when the Other calls and vice versa. This leads to a lot of suppressed and unsuppressed resentment. Earlier, the couple would plan a romantic weekend in great detail and stick to the plan (simply because they couldn’t get word to each other about a change in the plans with sufficient rapidity!)… these days, thanks to the existence of cell phones, and the ability to change plans at a moment’s notice… well, you get the picture. Add to this the inconvenience of poor networks, low batteries and the like, and you have one very frustrated and worried couple!

All in all, cell phones are horrible. They are the work of the Devil him/herself. Satan. Beelzebub. Lucifer incarnate! They should all be destroyed without further notice!... Before they destroy us!!

Excuse me, a moment. I’m getting an important call…

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