Monday, September 21, 2009

Look Ma Bell! No Hands!

I have got to get me one of them hands-free, cell phone headset thingies.

Not because I need to be available by cell phone at all times. Duh. Why do you think the ringer is usually off? OK, it's because I forget to turn it back on, but that's not the point.

Not because I need an outward symbol of how important I am. I think the tiara pretty much says it all.

No, I need a headset to disguise my crazy ramblings and outbursts. Oh sure, talk to yourself a little and people thing you're eccentric. Talk to yourself a lot and they lock you up. Give random strangers constructive criticism and they take offense!

But! Talk into a headset and no one bats an eye!

This morning I saw a woman carrying on a conversation all by herself outside the ice cream parlor -- which is closed for the season by the way -- in beautiful downtown West Branch. We assume that she was talking to someone on her headset, but how do we really know that? Sure, she had her Franklin Day Planner in one hand, and she was dressed in comfortable yet professional-looking business casual style. But how do we know her cell phone was even on?

This hands-free headset fetish has its place, but leave them in the car, people. I don't give a crap if they're hard to connect and disconnect and it's easier to just leave them on when you go in the store. And don't give me that "Oh, I forgot it was there" crap. Hellooo, it's a growth sticking out of your ear. You know it's there.

Yes, you do look like a crazy person talking to yourself in line at the grocery store. It is almost, but not quite as annoying as the people who talk on the phone in public restrooms. Do me a favor people, don't answer or -- God forbid -- place a call while in a stall. It will save me from repeatedly flushing in an attempt to annoy you and drive home a point to whoever is on the other end of the line.

Don't even get me started on how much I don't want to hear your conversation.

But since you brought up the subject, no! I don't want to hear your conversation. In fact, I don't want to hear your conversation so much that I usually just tune out anyone around me who is talking. Someday I'm going to be run down by a truck because I ignored the people shouting "LOOK OUT! THERE'S A TRUCK ABOUT TO RUN YOU DOWN!" because I thought they were talking to someone else on their cell phones.

On the other hand (and I would have both available!), I could use this to my advantage. I already feel perfectly free to offer much needed advice on driving (and, occasionally, fashion) from the enclosed and nearly soundproof comfort of my car. They can't hear me, but on some level -- whether it is psychic or body language -- I think I get my message across.

The headset would give me a similar sense of freedom to offer advice while outside my car. The random pedestrian would never be quite sure if I was talking to them or not, but subconsciously they would absorb my advice and use it to better their lives.

The moron blocking traffic in the cereal aisle would hear "Aisle hog on lane 3." He would look around, sheepishly, then decide to stand behind his cart instead of next to it, allowing other shoppers to pass.

The lady with the screaming kid at the mall would hear "future juvenile delinquent" and would probably assume I was talking about someone else. However, one day in the future while she's talking to Junior via a whole different type of "cell" phone and remarking on how that orange jumpsuit really brings out the blue in his eyes, she'll have a flashback and think "I really should have tried a more proactive approach to discipline when you were younger."

Viola! Another problem solved, another life improved.

All thanks to hands free technology. And me.

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