View from the Basement

Magnificent or (Miserable) Obsession

America—wake up! There is an insidious menace that is slowly but steadfastly creeping into our lives and destroying families. Make no mistake; it is as deadly in its own way and addicting as a shot of heroin, a hit of meth or a line of cocaine. Its allure is hidden behind a mask of practicality and convenience. I will give this serpent a name—“Cellphone.” Doesn’t even sound deadly does it? But put it behind a wheel with its user, and it can be.
I must admit to the fact that I have never been a “gadget” person. Esther still rubs it in my face that I wouldn’t learn to use a computer because I said it was just a passing phase. The closest gadget I’ve ever come close to being addicted to was television—Saturday morning cartoons as a kid. Even then you couldn’t enjoy the total experience ‘cuz your mom would “kick you outside to go play.” Televisions weren’t mobile enough to carry outside.
Eventually, a toll was taken on the family unit when dads weren’t the only breadwinners and women joined the workforce and began careers of their own. TV more and more stepped in to fill the empty hours as a form of entertainment and as an easy babysitter.
The technological advancement in communication brought us into the cellphone age. Cousin Janet brought me into the 21st Century by giving me my first flip phone, so she could contact me more easily. (She also gave me my first drink of alcohol…hmmm!) I was perfectly content with my little buddy and told myself I did need it in case of a flat tire.
Before I knew it, I was again quickly behind the times as smart phones came into being. All people could talk about was a thing called Facebook. Janet assured me I was totally missing out on the fun of pictures and messages. My little flip phone was continually made fun of by her and my son, Cole. Georgia and I both relented and bought one at the same time and have now become prisoners of social media. My smart phone is no doubt the most unused because I am clueless to its many uses like banking online, calling a taxi, etc., etc.
Now I look around and watch people glued to their phones and I consider it a monster in our midst, with only ourselves to blame. Cellphones are a wonderful gadget that was intended just to make our lives easier and to keep in touch with friends and family. I must admit it is handy in melon fields when you don’t have to drive back and forth to a land-line to talk to customers or you need assistance (like when I backed the pumpkin load into the ditch.)
It gives me a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach when you hear on the news of a car wreck and someone who was texting killed someone’s loved ones. That shows you how much of an addiction it is when drivers defy the law and continually drive and text. Go anywhere to shop, dine or the movies and the public masses are texting away. I attended the Mt. Vernon Christmas Concert on Thursday night, and the music teacher requested all cellphones be put away out of respect for the kids and the hard work they had put in to make the program enjoyable. The man in front of me NEVER put his phone down the entire time. I so wanted to tap him on the shoulder and tell him what I thought, but I didn’t want to cause a brawl.
Nothing makes me angrier than sitting down to a meal and people are on their phones. That is essentially telling the next person they are not interesting enough to converse with! I like the idea, at a restaurant, to put all cellphones in the middle of the table and the first person to use it buys the meals. Phones have taken over the intimacy between couples, for gosh sake!
The next generation might as well be born without mouths since they only text and they will also need extra coverage for carpel tunnel surgery. Think of the years we were phoneless and went everywhere without them. Now if I forget it at home, I am panic-stricken, wondering what I’m missing. I can honestly say in all the years I’ve owned one, the only important phone call I ever missed was in a movie when Gay had called to say Garth had broken his back and was on the way to Sioux Falls to the hospital. Otherwise, it’s basic trivial news.
I have included the picture that Cole sent me to make fun of how people have created their own prison due to cell phones.
No Texting and Driving,
Dee Baby

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