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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Can You Hear Me Now?

I was both amused and saddened by John Moore's recent diatribe on proper theatre etiquette. Amused because I can relate and because John attacked the subject with wit and eloquence, but saddened because he's mostly just preaching to the choir. Still, maybe by some chance one of these oafish theatre "patrons" will come across the article while searching for some play to take in during brief breaks from text-messaging and will think better of one or the other.
If you haven't read it, please do, and if someone in your e-mail address book could do with a bit of enlightening, send it their way as well with a cheery little: "Thought you might get a kick out of this:) lol." (wink. wink. wink. WINK.)
Cell phones. Before cell phones, I used to go to the movies a couple of times a week. Now, with few exceptions, I wait for DVD. I don't pay $10 (before popcorn) to watch a dozen little bluish LCD screens from the previews through the final credits.
Cell phones. Ten years ago somewhere around 30 million people in the U.S. had cell phones. Less than ten years before that it was around 8 million. Now it's over 200 million. So, between then and now, do we really have that much more to say?
I'm not knocking cell phones all together. They are convenient. I don't use mine that much, but it is pretty handy to have when I need to reach someone from wherever they are -- or when they need to reach me.
However, I see people on their phones constantly while shopping, driving, eating lunch, etc. What can they be talking about? Are they telling the same stories over and over? Are they sharing information they shouldn't and probably wouldn't if they had to wait to get home to make a phone call. Is this why people are so obsessed with Lindsay Lohan, Christian Bale, Britney Spears, Brad Pitt or anyone else with the least little bit of dirty laundry to be aired? At least it's something else to talk about on the phone, right?
I had one phone conversation today. The car dealer where I recently got my latest ride needs my signature on one more thing. It was a worthwhile phone call, I think. My voicemail messages today were five: one from a person seeking my advice on a new script who I will call back tomorrow, one from another person asking if I'd had any new thoughts on a possible collaboration even though I'd told them to get back to me on Monday, one from someone seeking advice on the line-up for a musical review out of town in a few months, one drunken wrong number, and a second phone call from the same dealership by someone who hadn't taken the time to find out that I'd already talked to someone else in the office.
Now, I wonder how many of these calls would have been made when we still relied upon land lines. The first one, maybe. The second person probably would have waited until Monday as discussed. The third call would have happened later in the evening when I would have been known to be home. The drunken call probably only happened because of the convenience of a mobile phone, and the caller from the dealership would have made it back to the office and found out that her call was unnecessary.
Nothing urgent. No emergencies. Ironically, when my father recently had a stroke, my brother opted not to call but waited to tell me in person. (Dad's doing much better, by the way.)
So let me pose the rhetorical question to you, dear readers: of all of the texts/calls that you made this week, how many did you make because you needed to at that moment, and how many did you make because you simply could? How many do you now wish you hadn't made at all?
Can I ask that we all take a moment of silence in contemplative tribute to the memory of . . . silence?

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