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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Cell phones are evil

I just walked across the parking lot to pick up something for lunch - all of maybe two hundred yards one-way - and noticed a young lady pulling out of the drive-through lane whilst putting her food down, driving, glancing around for other traffic, and ... talking on her cell phone.

This just struck me as wrong on several levels.

1. Isn't it rude to both the restaurant employee and the person on the other end of the call to be on the phone as you place your order, pay and pick up your food at the drive-through window?

2. Personally, I find it annoying and a little painful to have to hold my cell phone between my neck and my ear so I can use my hands for other things (like driving and shifting gears). I would imagine others would as well.

3. Pulling out of the drive-through lane while trying to accomplish several things at once tends to take a little away from all of them - something that seems a tad dangerous when one of them is paying attention to your surroundings while operating a motor vehicle.

I don't subscribe to the thought that cell phones are evil because they contain some inner demonic properties, as show in this video...

On the contrary, I believe cell phones are evil because of the cultural, societal and behavioral changes they engender in us humans.

Before everyone gets all defensive, I'll admit that I am the first to embrace all that is cool about cell phones. I've been using them since you needed a bag to carry one around.  But I still get cranky when I see people blatantly ignore rules and/or common sense in the use of their mobile phone.

Ten years ago, I was flying to Riyadh and was perturbed to note how several passengers, on our final approach to King Khalid International Airport, already had their cell phones out, on and dialing. This despite the clear instructions from the crew to wait until we were inside the terminal building to use cell phones. I tell you, if I had died because someone couldn't wait to call their buddy and say (in Arabic), "Hey, Mohammed; guess where I'm calling you from?" I would have been some cheesed off.

Since then, the airlines have caved. I have determined that the use of personal electronic devices is not really dangerous because of wireless signals causing potential interference with the aircraft's navigation systems - it must be that they're more worried about said personal electronic devices becoming personal electronic missiles in case of some mishap on approach/landing.


In the common sense category, is driving a motor vehicle while organizing your lunch, talking to your friend and trying to note any potential hazards to navigation really a good idea? Or has multitasking become so de rigueur that merely doing one important thing at a time is considered slacking?

I put today's observation in the same category as the woman I passed the other morning who was reading a book while driving down the interstate. My gosh, is driving so downright boring that we need to engage our brains in some random activity in order to stay awake?


According to the Governor's Highway Safety Association, 21 states now ban texting while driving. My state (according to the table at the GHSA website) has no bans in place. Not even for school bus drivers.

I wonder where the kids get the idea that using a cell phone is OK while driving?

Even more amazing, Florida (my state) as recently as 2005 had a law banning localities from banning cell phone usage. (Business Week). Is that not evil? The state banned individual communities from enacting safety laws to protect the taxpayers.

Perhaps the cell phone isn't actually evil. Maybe it just brings out the latent evil in all of us. With lawsuits stemming from inappropriate photographs taken with cell phone cameras to the latest sexting craze, it's obvious that humanity will strive to find evil uses of this, and other, technology.

What do you think? Are cell phones evil?


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