Tuesday, June 7, 2011

An Open Letter to Public Cell Phone Users

As a reasonably intelligent human being and a semi-astute American citizen, it has come to my attention in recent years (mainly based on the fact that I have ears) that many individuals have no idea that there are manners and expectations when using a cell phone, smart phone, or other portable communication device.  As a method of self-preservation and the unavoidable fact that I am in fact, a grouch, I hereby submit this list of requests, nay, demands to John and Jane Q. Public, cell phone users extraordinaire. 

1) Keep your voice down.  While waiting in line at the pharmacy recently, I was scanning the covers of tabloids and secretly debating as to whether the health of my sinuses was really worth standing for 30 minutes for a handful of pills.  In the midst of my inner debate, I heard: “Mom?  Hi!  How are you?”  Like the countless millions of other women who have given birth, my head immediately turned in the direction of the word “Mom”.  There sat a miserable, portly woman of approximately 40 years with chapped lips and a pouty frown who had wedged herself sideways into the seat of the blood pressure machine.  “I’m at the pharmacy right now,” she continued, “so I didn’t want you to wonder where I was.”  My immediate thought was that if her mother had been curious as to the woman’s whereabouts, said mother would have called the cell phone to find out.  But, I digress.  “No, no, no, I’m fine, Mom.  I went to the doctor today and he gave me a prescription I have to get filled.” 
At this point, I wish to make you aware that the woman’s voice was obnoxiously loud for such a crowded and overheated environment like the overflowing line at the pharmacy.  If such phone calls in close quarters are absolutely essential, please keep your voice to a reasonable level.

2) Keep personal details to a minimum.  As this woman continued her conversation, more and more patrons began staring at her.  She didn’t mind in the least.  In fact, despite her obvious misery, she seemed energized by it.  “The doctor thinks I have HPV based on my last pap smear.”  An audible gasp of disgust went through the crowd, growing more and more anxious to flee every passing minute.  Still undeterred, the woman continued, “Yes, Mo-therrrr, that is the one that causes cancer.  The doctor doesn’t think I have cancer but I may have the warts.”  By this time, nausea and blinding mental pictures are making me forget the sinus infection that brought me into the pharmacy in the first place.  “He decided to do another pap today so with that and the blood draws, I am NOT a happy camper.”  She paused long enough to listen to “Mo-therrrr” on the other end and to take a breath before charging ahead.  “Well, Randy hasn’t come near me in a month but who has time for sex with a teenager in the house?” 
By this time, her unwitting captive audience members were beginning to look at one another and mutter responses like, “Really?” or “She did NOT just say that!”  These personal details of her medical problems were not, and I repeat NOT, life threatening nor were they of the nature requiring that they be shared immediately.  If you have personal, intimate, private, or just plain gross information to relay, please wait until you are alone in the parking lot or, at the very least, LOWER YOUR VOICE!

3) Do not gossip about other people.  While the rest of us were staring holes through the pharmacy techs (who felt discussing whose thong showed through their white pants was more important than serving the exhausted, overheated, exasperated crowd), this woman was oblivious that her conversation was making matters worse.  She continued talking about her teenage daughter: “She’s getting such an attitude.  Randy and I can’t agree on how to handle it.  She pits him against me and me against him and then leaves the house when we fight about it.  I told Randy if she’s out messing around with her boyfriend, it’s his fault.”  (Poor Randy.  He probably gets blamed for everything.)  “I told her I didn’t like her attitude and she just rolled her eyes at me.  Can you believe that!”  (We can all hear a muffled shriek on the phone from this woman’s mother, we’re just not sure if it’s disbelief or laughter.)  “I know!  Randy says it’s no big deal but I just don’t like it.  I tried looking through her e-mails but I can’t figure out her password.”  (Hey woman, try “cantwait2be18” …)  All of her jabbering on and on about poor Randy and their daughter was just the last straw.  Don’t gossip, people, seriously.  It’s tacky.  It’s wrong.  And, honestly, nobody wants to hear it!

When my turn finally came to check out, I paid for my pills as quickly as possible and turned to run out of the store.  I got to the door just in time to see someone put a six-pack of beer at her feet and say in a dramatic stage whisper, “This is for Randy”.  Atta boy. 

© Bertha Grizzly 2011.  All Rights Reserved.  No duplication or distribution.

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