I wasn't given a writing assignment, per se, this time around. I just felt inspired by a recent real-life incident that annoyed the snot out of me. So here goes. Feedback welcome, as always.
I went to the car wash yesterday. I wasn’t hurting anyone. I was minding my own business. I only wanted my minivan cleaned, nothing more. I sat patiently while the work was done, sipping my diet soda and thumbing happily through the pages of a waiting area magazine, when “she” walked in.
You know who “she” is. You’ve been accosted by her at some point, either in the grocery store aisle, the line at the bank, or maybe even in the hushed lobby of a doctor’s office. She’s the one yammering into the air and making eye contact with, well, no one. You wonder to which of the forty people in the room she might be speaking. Nobody seems to be engaging her. You even wonder if she is talking to you. Then you see it, the tiny bud in her ear and the itty bitty hot pink phone in her hand. She’s chatting away with someone possibly hundreds of miles away. Not only is she not addressing anyone in the vicinity, she is tactlessly unaware that you or any of those other unfortunate people are even in the room. Nor does she care, for that matter. It gets better. When she was born, doctors discovered that she was missing a vital body part. That’s right; she was born without an indoor voice box. She’s loud. She’s boorish. And she “needed” to make a phone call. Right then. It couldn’t wait. The guy on the other end needed to know immediately that she wasn’t really up to much of anything.
I want more laws for people like her. Here in Utah, we already have cell phone laws in place, like the one that prohibits texting while driving. We all know this is a matter of public safety. Likewise, men and women with certain medical conditions-like the absence of an indoor voice box-should have their phone usage closely governed. This, too, is a matter of public safety. Yesterday, for example, as I sat with the other increasingly irked patrons in that small waiting area listening to one side-the LOUD side-of a totally unnecessary conversation, it was all I could do to keep from calmly walking over to her and making that bud a permanent part of her ear canal. My new law idea could prevent such an incident. Purchasing a cell phone shouldn’t be any easier than buying a gun these days, especially if you’re going to use your phone as a weapon for crimes against humanity. I want medical records queried and background checks performed before any store clerk carelessly hands over one more cell phone to a member of the general public.
Where did the manufacturers come up with the Bluetooth® moniker, anyway? Wouldn’t “BlackEye” or “PurpleShins” be a more fitting name for this device, since that is what many of us wish to administer to its users when we encounter them in public places? And speaking of manufacturers, they could do us all a favor by turning back the technological clock a few years. I recall the infancy stages of the cell phone, when they were all hand-held and the size and weight of a cinder block. I say we revisit the good old days of cumbersome phone designs and make it highly inconvenient for this woman and her minions to annoy us in our car washes.
Would it have been too much to ask of her to simply take her conversation-and her outdoor voice-outside? Of course, when I say “outside,” I mean Wyoming…or Canada.
I probably sound bitter…and intolerant…and slightly disposed to violence. Perhaps. But this isn’t about me. I’m not the bad guy here. I just wanted my car washed. After all, texting and driving in a filthy car can be extremely distracting. Safety first. That’s my motto.