Commentary

WIRELESS ADDICTS

(MSCC) John Mudd — It’s a morning dash to work in the hustle and bustle of New York City. I am meat-sandwiched between bodies on the subway ride to Union Square where I will connect to an east side bus. A screeching halt and jolting doors are sounds that send me bolting up the stairs with superhero-like leaps and bounds. I am out from the cavernous underground and into the uncivilized world just in time; my now arriving chariot with its ridiculous advertisements is here to greet me. But no sooner than I approach my patiently waiting bus, I’m ready to scream at the idiot nudging past me who can’t seem to disconnect from her wireless apparatus long enough to efficiently and politely board, pay the fare, and find a seat. I was once rendered speechless at a restaurant when a waitress held her finger at me as if to say, “One moment please” so she could take a personal call—yes, that was while she was waiting on me. And recently I was having a drink at a bar and when I asked for the check, the bartender nodded, picked up her phone, checked her messages, typed out a text, and then got me my check—and yes, I gave that one a lesson in customer care. Forget trying to hurry through a crowd while a meandering fool is messing with his dang phone, texting, dialing, talking, or doing all three at once—the meandering fool seems to always know which side you are trying to slip past him. Oh, and how about the mother who risks her child’s life, liberty, and pursuit of a bottle by wheeling the infant across a busy street while she is absorbed in a cell phone conversation! And while I’m at it—your damned precious Blackberry or other like device have no business being on a date; Hey, if I am here just to pass the time and I’m not interesting enough, then leave me the @$#& alone!

Losing myself in films to try and escape the aggravation of everyday life doesn’t seem to work anymore. It is not beyond text-a-maniac turd-balls of this modern world to light up their phones in the middle of a movie. On one of my would-be late night movie escapes (whereby I just forked over $13 for what I was hoping to be two hours of relief from shitty workday sales), it’s a quarter of the way in an end-of-the-world-viral-flu-epidemic and Gwyneth Paltrow is foaming at the mouth. I know you’re not supposed to care too much for her—she’s the carrier and she’s been screwing around on her faithful husband—still, it’s a pivotal moment! This jackass sitting next to me can’t stay off his damn phone. I’m feeling the steam escaping my ears and I’m biting my tongue so hard that my teeth impressions will surely last for days. I shoot him my best look to no effect. I’m turning blue holding my breath. He’s bound to find some interest in this movie—he paid twenty-seven damn dollars for him and his date! An iPad too? I can’t hold back anymore: You’re kidding me, right? You can’t put away your toys for another hour? Oh, it’s an emergency? Really! An emergency you need to resolve with your phone and your iPad in the middle of a movie? Don’t you think you should leave and attend to the problem? Whispers to his girlfriend. I heard you…so I’m the dick for your lack of civility? What is the matter with you? I’m glad he doesn’t take advantage of the moment by standing up and clocking me in the face; I don’t know exactly who this imbecile I’m dealing with really is or how unbalanced he might be. I’m going to shop for a taser gun; beats going postal or me taking one in the jaw, or worse.

How do I stand for such bad manners and disrespect? How do I work with that, seriously? There really is no escape from the incivility, it is in the streets, subways, buses, and even on my sacred bike rides…one of the few things left keeping me sane. The lovely sound of rubber hitting the pavement during a weather-permitting Sunday flight; a peddling frenzy uncorking an adrenal high—push pull, push pull, knees together, one two, one two. Not even this moment is safe. You are seriously going to play with your iPhone while you are carelessly cruising on your bike in front of me, in my lane, on my turf? What is so important? Making a deal, moving markets, tuning into Facebook?? You are keeping me from my usual high…tethering me to this world…barring me from my flight! Stick the damn phone up your ass and get out of my way!

Speaking of cell phones and abuses, have you heard about the conflicts and atrocities around the world caused by corporate expansionism? How about the stories of cobalt and columbite-tantalite? The Congo-mined cobalt is an important element in batteries and the Congo-mined columbite-tantalite mineral is found in almost every cell phone on earth. It’s also found in video games, airbags, and air suspension brakes. The mined minerals found—comparable to the discovery of gold in California—is the root cause of brutalization, murder, and land confiscation in the Congo. Yes we shake our heads at the horrific stories, but then we forget about them for they are a world away. I certainly don’t want to think about something I feel powerless to affect. And I want my Blackberry! Oh how I abhor my dependency on my Blackberry—the precious time lost checking my messages repeatedly, as if that will force the text or email I was waiting for and change my life. But I need it—I depend on it! I feel like a shit that I am not wearing a fig leaf, and running through the woods at one with nature. Now I feel better…no, not yet. This is where I make a vow to use my current phone till death do us part. Or, should I buy an iPhone? My next phone will be a green phone. Is there such a thing? What is a green phone? Is it using natural elements or using local natural elements? Is it using natural elements from foreign governments with fair trade agreements? Ah, fair trade agreements: when governments certify that their product causes no harm to the peasants, and the corporate profits were not made while raping and plundering the land and sea. Are we buying this bullshit? If it makes me feel good I suppose I will.

By now I’m ready to go back home and crawl underneath the covers. Can’t very well do that, with the earth pounding construction going on outside my building, shaking the very foundation of my humble abode. Should I close my restaurant up for the day while I take an anxiety break? It’s a foolishly entertaining thought…up and out of the midst of cell phones and their frenetic users with their thumbs going wild. Stick your nose in a @#$%&@ book!

Wow, I need to de-stress. Ohm, ohm, ohm…