The Cheat calls you out. On the ubiquitous presence of mobile phones in Spain and, well, pretty much everywhere, don't call me, and don't call The Cheat either. And put your darn phone on silent mode!
Phones are pretty ubiquitous in the western world, which is probably why no one seems to mind them going off absolutely all the time. I mean really, when was the last time you were anywhere where some jerk wasn’t blathering on to their buddy about the game, the girl, the job, the new shoes or some other totally inane scrap of information loudly enough for the rest of us to hear about it? That’s right buddy, you can’t remember. That’s because cell phones have been around in the millions about as long as The Simpsons have been on TV. And do you honestly remember a time before The Simpsons? My memory doesn’t stretch much past the rap-soaked early nineties, mostly because I was a beer-soaked young artnik starting college at the time.
But back on topic, I am becoming increasingly allergic to the very notion that one should be instantly available at all times, day and night, regardless of circumstances. I just lost my luggage on a flight from London but the lost baggage department certainly wasn’t available to take my call. And that’s a reputable airline, by whose own admission lost my bag and are legally liable for it. The truth is they didn’t answer the lost luggage hotline because in all probability the handlers were on their cell phones, discussing last night’s Chelsea-Barcelona football game.
But you know what, that’s fine by me just as long as I can do the same thing and not get my head chewed off for it. Only it really doesn’t work that way. I switch off my phone for a few hours to relax and enjoy a movie or a nap and I am “avoiding people”, or “irresponsible” or my personal favourite “depressed”. Depressed? Evidently by not being at the world’s beck and call 24-7 must mean that I have in fact fallen into some sort of deep melancholy, and am one short step away from suicide. “I can’t take it anymore… better switch off my cell-phone just in case some do-gooder tries to talk me out of it.”
I’m not depressed, I’m just tired of hearing some kid’s Nokia suddenly burst into Pussycat Dolls on full synthesized volume in a café where I am trying to share a drink with a friend. I am not into listening to the same shit repeat itself while the guy stares at his phone for a minute, deciding whether or not to answer it or continue enjoying his customized ring tone he so proudly downloaded from a back page ad in Siete magazine. You know which one I am talking about, it’s that classy tabloid rag with the bare breasted women on the cover all the grannies like to read in the supermarket checkout line.
Am I being vulgar? Maybe, but then so are all the turds disturbing the peace every six seconds in the metro, the cinema, the bar, the church, and just about everywhere else by making every corner of our universe sound like some kind of deranged call center. Does it never occur to these folks that a little discretion would be appreciated by the rest of us? Every phone has a “silent” function that will happily vibrate its way into your consciousness next time Barça scores and buddy absolutely needs to tell you about it.
European jet manufacturer Airbus recently announced that its new generation of airliner will feature technology allowing the use of cell phones in flight, a prospect horrifying many. If you thought sleeping through a crying baby was tough, try relaxing with 450 people’s cell phones going off around you in the confines of an airplane. Yup, good times are coming in this new communication age, but don’t worry, I am not bothered. I’ll have settled into a slow-paced life in Northern Ontario or Belize or some village in Outer Mongolia herding yaks, so I won’t need to call the lost luggage hotline.