Hay’s Daze: Is your cell phone ringing?

File this under “Stating the Painfully Obvious:” people are addicted to their cellphones. Really? Um, no shiplap Shakespeare. But once again, there is a new study that tells us exactly what we already know. Anybody who takes time to pull away from their cellphone and look around or a brief moment or two will no doubt agree that people just can’t detach themselves from their phones these days.

Remember just a few short years ago, back when phones were in booths on the street or bolted to the wall in your kitchen? Remember when not a single soul was sitting, standing, driving or walking around talking loudly into a rectangular piece of plastic or frantically punching their thumbs all over it? Remember when people used to talk to each other the old fashioned way? You know — two or more people actually talking to each other in the same room without the use of hardware OR software?

Young people these days simply can’t fathom how we pre-cell fossils managed to date other people without texting, Tweeting, Snapchatting or Instagramming them first. Fledgling cellphone addicts wouldn’t dream of arranging a potential date without first rigorously scrutinizing the person’s Facebook Profile and copying a dozen or so of their on-line photos onto their cellphones.

Still, apart from Facebooking, texting, Goggling and taking obligatory selfies every eight minutes or so, you have to wonder just what all those people are doing when they are glued to their cellphones 24/7. In an article appearing in The Advocate this week the aforementioned study reported that “assuming 10 hours off for sleep… smartphone users worldwide look at their devices … 168 times a day”. Wow that’s almost as many times as people change channels on their TV remote.

I must admit though, I sometimes marvel at how we managed to get by without being able to contact somebody every instant of every day to tell them vital, urgent information like the fact that you were having a “really delicious” burger at the Five Fat Guys Burger Palace, or that there’s a big sale on tube socks at the mall or you just heard that neighbour of that friend of that person from work voted for the NDP. Or possibly the Liberal Party. Or both!

But what about those morons who walk around stores and sit in restaurants whilst shouting into their cellphones so that everyone within spitting distance can hear in excruciating detail that their latest dumb business venture is “really rockin’ ” or that the hairdresser completely messed up their $200 dye and cut? Or that dweeb in front of you in the lineup who answers their phone just as they are paying for something at the checkout? They couldn’t care less that they are frustrating the checkout person and holding up the entire line. “Hey look at me, everybody! I have a cellphone and I can blab on it whenever I want! Aren’t I just the super-coolest?”

Honestly, is there a rule that says you MUST answer your phone even when it’s rude to everyone else in the world when you do? Will you suddenly get hit by a massive bolt of lightning if you ignore your phone for five flippin’ minutes?

I have a name for cellphone obsessives – male or female, the first name is Dick and the surname is Head. Because it’s just simply inconsiderate, ill-mannered and insensitive when… oh, sorry, excuse me. My cell is ringing. I’d better get this. I’ll be right b….

Harley Hay is a Red Deer writer and filmmaker.

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