“What did we ever do before we had cell phones?”
Usually the question is meant to demonstrate the usefulness of the devices, for they have certainly made some parts of our lives easier. When you head to the mall with a group of your friends, you no longer have to stay together or synchronize your watches and plan a specific time and location to meet up before you leave. Teenagers heading out on a Friday night no longer have to worry about carrying a pocketful of change or finding a pay phone to call Mom and Dad in an emergency, or to ask if they can stay out just an hour past curfew. And it’s certainly easier to stay in touch with friends and family nowadays, even if they live halfway around the world.
You can also reach someone instantaneously by texting. People spend hours sending short bursts of misspelled acronyms back and forth to one another when they either can’t talk on phone, or simply don’t feel like it. Texting is great when you’re stuck in an endless meeting at work, or when you see a guy at the gym who looks exactly like Brad Pitt and you want your best friend to hurry up andcome see for herself. You can even include photos or short videos to help illustrate your point.
If that wasn’t enough, cell phone manufacturers have blessed us with a whole line of phones that can also keep us connected to the internet 24 hours a day. That’s right kids. Access your email instantly, and carry your Facebook friends and Twitter followers with you wherever you go!
Yet, for all their virtues, it is becoming increasingly apparent that cell phones are also contributing to our social and intellectual demise.
If you have ever been out drinking with a group of friends, you have inevitably witnessed a case of Drunk Dialing–some poor, inebriated fool deciding that 3 a.m. is a great time to call the girl he has a crush on and impress her by singing a short selection of his favorite Dave Matthews songs. The scenario gets worse when one of his sober buddies records the slurred serenade and posts it one YouTube for the rest of the world to see.
To avoid this kind of embarrassment, you must be proactive. When you are planning to go out drinking with friends, be sure to take the battery out of your phone and carry it in your pocket. That way, if you get the urge to call and profess your love to the hot new guy that got hired in your office or to curse out the professor that gave you a D- on your midterm, you will have at least 5-10 minutes to reconsider while you try to replace the battery and turn on your phone. Most drunks would lose interest long before they finished the job. However, if you should succeed, you should know ahead of time that the “Damn-I-was-too-wasted-to-realize-what-I-was-doing” defense will not hold up in any court of law.
Anyone who still argues that our obsession with cell phones is not interfering with our daily lives has obviously not seen the recent video of the woman who fell into a fountain at a mall in Pennsylvania while texting on her cell phone, or the subsequent videos with her and her lawyer as they discuss whether or not they are going to sue the mall (to see her interview on ABC’s Good Morning America, click here).
Personally, I don’t know what is more disturbing about this story–the fact that this woman was so involved in her texting that she was completely oblivious to the ENORMOUS fountain directly in her path, or the fact that she is seriously contemplating suing someone else for her own stupidity. Don’t get me wrong, I love my cell phone, and I do my share of texting, tweeting, emailing, and updating my Facebook status, but I have never even tripped over a curb while texting, let alone falling into a fountain. And we’re not talking about a small, kiddie pool size fountain. This thing was the size of an Olympic swimming pool. I am actually looking forward to the outcome of this case. If she wins, it just might be time for me to lawyer up. I have done some seriously stupid things in my life, and if it is possible to reap some sort of financial benefit from it, then I am certainly on board.
Today’s 365 Project entry is dedicated to one of the modern guilty pleasures we can’t seem to live without. LOL!