Blood and Cell Phones (Originally Published June 13, 2010)

The other day I had a day off and had to go for a blood test. Due to unforeseen circumstances my blood test was cancelled. It was a beautiful morning  Mrs. Mitch and Little Mitch were still at home riding the slumber train, so I figured why waste this opportunity for some Mitch time? I found a Starbucks near the medical lab, ordered a coffee and sat on the patio to enjoy a sunny morning and some Springsteen on the IPOD. As I was sitting there enjoying my alone time, I noticed the line of cars wrapping around the coffee shop for the drive through. The line of cars was about eight cars long. Each of which was a silver coloured SUV. I would like to say that is an exaggeration alas it is not. I live in an affluent bedroom community and a silver SUV is a prerequisite for membership, along with a false sense of entitlement, yoga pants, purebred dog, and 1.5 kids. Normally I wouldn’t think twice to notice to a line up of SUV’s but something caught my eye. Of the eight cars in the line up six of the drivers waiting in line started texting as soon as their SUV came to a stop.

This got me thinking. Have we got to such a state in our instant communication society that we need to fill every free second with pointless annoying “cyber-chatter?” What could possibly be so important that you need to text in that exact thirty seconds before you order your low fat no foam half-caff soy latte? “President Obama, sorry can’t help you today, bringing democracy to China, grabbing a latte, then I’m negotiating a middle east peace treaty, and the kids have soccer.” Can’t we sit still anymore for a few seconds and just not be connected? I was sitting enjoying my coffee, doing nothing in particular but listening to my music. Ask yourself this, when was the last time you just listened to music for the sake of listening to music? Chances are, you’re probably doing another task or multiple tasks with the music on? I admit I am bad for this; I need music on when I work, type, do household chores, and make a bowel movement.  I find Lady Gaga is particularly good for motility and my brain needs the noise to work.

I don’t know why I found the SUV texting line so interesting. What can I say, Mitch is an observant thinking kind of man who finds the absurdity of everyday life interesting. I apologize for the third person self reference, thats the last and only one I promise. I don’t understand cell phone culture. I don’t own a cell phone. I don’t want one and I don’t need one. Now I know what you’re thinking, that I’m some anti-technology puritan. That’s not exactly the case, I like to think of myself as a practical man who only gets what he needs. I owned a couple of cell phones in the past. I cancelled the contract of my first cell phone when I found I used it three minutes a month. A few years later, I got another cell phone, a pay as you go plan, six months later I hadn’t put any minutes on it since and it became a chew toy for baby Little Mitch.

Have you ever noticed cell phone people always say “I need my cell phone so people can get a hold of me anytime?” Really? why then every time I call you I get your voice mail? In fact it seems that I can  never get a hold of you. Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of your “get a hold of me anytime” tenet? Getting a hold of your voice mail, is not getting a hold of you anytime, in fact it is not getting a hold of you most of the time.

I have one friend who’s cell phone voice mail M.O.  is particularly annoying. You call the person who is one of those “I need my cell phone so you can get a hold of me anytime” people, and leave a message on their voice mail. Anywhere from a few minutes to a few days later I get a phone call back.

Friend: “Hey what’s up? I see you called?”

Mitch: “Yeah I did. I left a message.”

Friend: “Oh yeah I didn’t listen to it”

Mitch: “Then why do you have voice mail? Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of having voice mail?”

Friend: (Sighing knowing Mitch is going on one of his tangents) “Well, just tell me what you wanted.”

Mitch: “I did tell you what I wanted it’s on your…voice mail. That’s the point of voice mail!”

Friend (Really annoyed) “Just tell me what you wanted!” 

Mitch: “I already told you what I wanted it’s on your voice mail, I shouldn’t have to repeat myself because your too lazy to push a few buttons to listen to your messages!”

This inane conversation would go on for few minutes until one of us gets so annoyed and give in and either repeats what they wanted in the first place or hangs up and checks their voice mail. Yes, I do realize in the space of time it took to have that ludicrous pseudo-argument I could have just repeated my message but I’m a man of principle, a code hero for these ridiculous times. If I don’t fight the nonsensical ludicrousness of modern times, who will? Of course this probably explains why my friends never pick up their cell phone when I call….

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