March 28, 2006 | Family & Life

First, I need to take care of a couple of housekeeping details. I won my singles match, Sunday. I won the first set, lost the second (I started thinking about food), and won the third set tiebreaker. Next, I’ll be posting the final questions and answers from Jan Springer, Wednesday. If you have any questions, please email me.

Now, on to my rant of the YEAR! Cell phones. Remember when cell phones were a rarity? When you had to have good credit and a credit card to purchase one? Remember when the cell phone was so LARGE, you needed a separate case to carry it? Remember when you had a cell phone for emergencies? Now everyone has one, and I do mean everyone. The health club where I play tennis, has a sign as you enter the courts, reminding players to turn off their cell phone. In some matches, a ringing cell phone can constitute a penalty point. I remember one summer, a female player actually took a phone call during her match to check up on her infant! I should have seen that as an omen. A couple of years ago, I was in the motor vehicle license office, and went to the ladies room. A woman, in the next stall, was talking to her best friend about how she’d caught her husband cheating! She was asking for advice. “Lady,” I wanted to yell, “First, throw him out and second, this is not the place to be discussing your personal life.” Teenagers and young adults LIVE on the cell phone. Now, instead of the ‘old days’ of being in your bedroom talking on the phone to your friends, you can carry on the conversation, at home, in the bathroom, out the door, in the car, to the mall, or where ever else you plan on going. Don’t laugh, I’ve seen adults do it too! In Chicago, you must have a hands free device when driving, if you’re on the cell phone. If you’re caught, it’s a fine and ticket. A cell phone will ring ANY DAMN WHERE! Movies, restaurants, funerals, church services, the list goes on. Now with the Bluetooth technology, everyone is walking around looking like they’re a telemarketer gone wild! That little damn blue light, flicking off and on, almost gave me a headache and was downright distracting one time at the movies. The man in front of us had one on his ear. It flashed, and out the corner of my eye, I kept watching it. Now tell me, do you go to the movies, to watch the movie, spending seven dollars, or do you go, so you can tell your friends you’re at the movie?

Even when you fill out forms, now they want your cell phone number in addition to your home and work numbers. I found it upsetting that a nurse last year, kept calling me to schedule my colon test, when I wouldn’t return the message she left for me at home. Yeah, like that was really going to make me schedule the test even quicker. My husband will call me on his cell phone because we have friends and family talk free. I no longer want to be his friend or family member. I appreciated the cell phone when my son was in grammar school. The boy had migraines at least twice a week, and I needed to be accessible. JMan, my son, has the correct attitude, right now, about the use of a cell phone. He has one and his monthly usage is three minutes. JGirl, on the other hand, has a separate account. We’re not stupid, if she was on our account, we’d never have any minutes. Her generation thinks text messaging is the dominant form of communication. Chirping, is what they do, because they have the walkie talkie cell phone. That and ringtones! One time, her phone was cut off for a couple of hours. The girl called at 2am, on her roommates’ phone, to tell us her phone was off, and would her father please be sure and check to see if he’d paid the bill. That was an ugly nightmare sight in my bedroom.

I resent the intrusion of the cell phone. I have one, a Blackberry PDA. Okay, Beth and Sloane will tell you I’m a gadget freak. But I don’t talk on it 24/7. I hate going somewhere, and having to listen to a. someone’s love life gone sour, b. how terrible a person’s boss is, c. what she said, he said and then what they said, d. where that person is going next, or e. just called to talk.

A cell phone is now so inexpensive, they’re almost disposable. You can even, for your child’s protection of course, purchase a small cute green cell phone programmed with three numbers and 911. Talk about catching early consumerism. I hope I’m not offending you, and if I am, please consider this as a fashion warning. Cell phones ARE NOT, I repeat, ARE NOT, to be worn as a belt accessory. I don’t care how much it sparkles, or how expensive it was.

Businesses use the cell phone to keep their employees on a tight lease. Gone are the days of taking a trip and maybe having a nice long lunch without the boss knowing. Now, the boss can call you, and some phones have GPS tracking. Ha! You think your boss thinks you’re at a meeting, and WHAM! They know you’re at local tavern. The cell phone also means, your work can be sent to you via email. You don’t have to wait to get back to the office, the office comes with you, weighing about 4oz. I once watched a father at a tennis match, stare at his PDA as it vibrated across the table. He knew it was work. Cell phones are prohibited from exams, becuase students can and do take pictures of the questions, email them to someone who knows the answer, who then emails it back to them. Ain’t progress lovely?

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