In 2003, 28 percent of Americans thought it was acceptable to use a cellphone in a restaurant, according to a Fox News report. If you take into consideration other public places like trains, elevators and convenience stores – not to mention the street – you would think this 28 percent has blossomed into a much larger percentage of jerks.
This article mentioned IDEO (this company invented the computer mouse and the toothpaste squeeze tube), was developing a mobile that shocks the caller if they talk too loud in public. Aside from the question of how the phone knows when it is being used in public, I think this is a fabulous idea and I can’t understand why it didn’t take off, also, I can’t imagine how the guy at Radio Shack would ever pitch the thing to a customer.
This phone is a human shock collar, and if you have ever been stuck anywhere with other humans, you may begin to feel that certain members of the public need this. Especially if you’re not one of 2003’s seemingly burgeoning 28 percent.
As far as my experience with cell abusers goes, I have overheard people fighting with partners, making plans, and futilely wishing whomever they were talking to were straight, possibly for dating purposes. Usually, I find myself sighing loudly and hoping a metal spike somehow lodges itself in the offender’s skull.
This is where the shock phone would come in handy. The lady who is traveling on the train from New York to Virginia yakking loudly about her monumentally important life would receive an electric shock, hopefully to her ear.
She would realize that she was being impolite as the muscles in her face twitched. Other people would at least get some comic relief, as I imagine they would laugh hysterically as this woman got an electrical pulse straight to the brain.
Then there is the person drinking coffee, smoking a cigarette and carrying a large bag as their phone begins to ring. They lose it as they rip through their bag, spilling their coffee and singeing their sweater. Then they walk off, still trying to smoke, drink coffee, carry the bag and talk while pretending they didn’t just look like a moron.
If, in 1973, Dr. Martin Cooper didn’t invent the enormous apparatus that became the cellphone, we would probably do a lot more shutting up. Maybe we would read while on a train or maintain that code of uncomfortable silence in elevators. We might get a good night’s sleep because our drunken friends wouldn’t wish us Merry Christmas at 4 a.m., in January.
I don’t completely eschew the cellphone. I own one, and upon receiving it, I felt overwhelmed with the possibilities: I could keep track of my friends’ activities, at any time!
I could call them at all hours and keep them abreast of pressing issues, like how I just saw two old dudes racing their Rascal Scooters!
Then again, they could also do this to me, and I don’t care too much that they just ate a ham sandwich, and are now bored. But I am one of the masses of people who are completely dependent upon this piece of technology, and it’s distracting. I’m sure that one day, while struggling to talk on the phone and do three other things, I’ll get hit by a bus.
Meredith Lindemon can be reached at Merbayne@aol.com.