Thought of the Day

How Cellphones Turned People Into Jerks (Accidentally)

How Cellphones Turned People Into Jerks

The other day I was supposed to meet up with a buddy of mine at his apartment at 6pm. Earlier in the day I confirmed and said I’d be there on time, give or take 5 minutes. Done deal! Well, I get to his place at 6pm (on the dot, which is a rare accomplishment for someone afflicted with a severe case of CPT) and he’s not there. Why? Because I didn’t update him to say I was almost there. And this is just one of the ways how cellphones turned people into jerks. Well… more people.

DISCLAIMER: First, none of this is actually a big deal to me, but, I’mma rant anyway. Second, I don’t have a mobile phone. Actually, I have a phone, but I don’t have a cell plan. On top of that, I’m still rocking an iPhone 4S, so I’m sure more than a couple of you out there are sticking your millennial noses in the air at the thought of owning such an “antiquated” device. Still, the ol’ girl has served me faithfully ever since I became a manager at my own job. When they hooked me up with the device, I got rid of my personal plan with AT&T and never bothered getting a new one after I stopped working there. Nowadays I basically use a combination of Google Voice, Skype and an available WiFi  connection.


So as someone who hasn’t had cell service in well over a year, you can probably imagine I had to learn the art of *shudder* being on time. It didn’t come to me naturally at first, but your boy is pretty effing proud of his progress if I do say so myself. That said, apparently my new found punctuality means squat because people now expect Weather Channel-style updates so they can be super duper absolutely sure I’m still on my way.

So is my friend a jerk for not being home at the time we agreed on or am I the jerk for not falling inline with contemporary American mobile culture? Well… Neither. That said, from my POV cell phones provide a layer of comfort that practically allows for dickish behavior. I know the interwebz loves them some lists so allow me to count the ways how cellphones turned people into jerks.

  1. Texting while driving. Isn’t it insane that people still regularly do this knowing full well they’re operating a high-speed murder box?
  2. Texting while walking. Less deadly than texting while driving so I suppose that’s something of a plus. But c’mon son (I’m bringing it back), look where you’re going.
  3. Staring at you’re phone during social activities. This may be a cliche complaint, but it didn’t appear out of thin air. Coming back to the US made it abundantly clear how much of an epidemic this is. Can social skills atrophy? If so, I’m pretty sure this is the path to making it happen. Put the stupid phone away and pay attention to me! Pretty please?
  4. Last minute plan changes/cancellations. I’ve been guilty of doing this too so trust that I’m not haphazardly casting stones in my glass house. I know I’m being a bit of a jerk when I do it. Sure, life happens so I can’t be too mad when it happens, but it’s way too easy to flake on a person when you have a handy dandy device that lets you say “sry cant make it something jus came up” five minutes before you had to show up. The least you could do is call and/or leave a voicemail.Speaking of voicemail…
  5. No one checks their effing voicemail… unless they’re in an awkward social situation. LOL. Okay, this is another one I’ve been totally guilty of in the past. Funny thing is, I’m far better at checking my voicemail for Skype/Google Voice than I ever did when I had service for a phone that followed me everywhere I went. What’s up with that? Maybe because there are no ADD-enabling apps on my laptop to keep me distracted? Yo no se.

I’m sure there are more examples I can give, but I’m not here to beat a dead horse. I’m just saying sometimes it’s rough for me and my fellow non-cellphone junkies out here in these streets. We’re the new weirdos. And I get it, there are benefits to having a mobile device that far outweigh not having one; I’m never going to argue otherwise. But as the big homie Forrest Gump would say, addiction is as addiction does… yada yada Jenny yada shrimp.

Or something like that.

TLDR: Be courteous and stop treating your phone like the briefcase from Pulp Fiction and/or a cancellation machine. The end.

Peace out, party people.

Previously: Bernie Sanders Supporters… Don’t F Up the Message

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