It’s a typical desert day…an exiled Moses is kickin’ it at his boy Jethro’s place. Suddenly, a nearby bush goes up in flames, pulling him from his flock of sheep. A booming voice calls out from within the fire.
“I am the G-d of your father, the G-d of Abraham, the G-d of Is…”
“Hang on, bro,” interrupts Moses, flipping open his Motorola. “I gotta take this.”
Of course, this scenario would have been inconceivable during the Book of Exodus (due to poor reception outside of Egypt), but it’s not anymore. As far as needs go, cell phones run a close second to oxygen these days, having revolutionized everything from the airport pick-up to drunken text messaging.
But have they mobile-ized our society into no longer valuing what’s right in front of us?
Hey, I’ve been guilty of it: lost in conversation, oblivious to the world around me…heading the wrong way down a one-way street during rush hour. Talk about an unwanted wakeup call that sticks in your head longer than a Backstreet Boys song (Back-Street’s Back, ALL RIGHT!).
No longer the tan brick-like monstrosities Nino Brown used while ruling New Jack City, the increasingly sleek cell phone has become a check-list carry item, like a condom on prom night. The businessman’s version of the janitor’s key ring, many holster it on their belt, ready to be drawn at a ring-tone’s notice (despite their pocket mere inches away).
It’s like the Old West - “Draw!” having been replaced by Jay-Z - the way people scramble for their phones in a life-or-death fashion, whether they’re around other people or not.
Some choose to place their phone on the dinner table, a real-life call waiting button that could click at any time, assigning their friends second-tier status in the process. “Sure, I’m out with you, but that was before I knew I could talk to THIS person.”
Be it in a car or restaurant, answering your cell imposes that call on the rest of the group, suspending them from other conversation. Observe how quiet they get, despite the face-to-face diss you are distributing. Upon hang-up, the least you can do is not bore us with a recap of YOUR contributions to the exchange…we were sitting right next to you, in case you hadn’t noticed.
It's called voicemail…use it.
(I hate to use a David Spade joke, but it just fit.)
Wireless earpieces aren’t helping, either. I was recently at Subway, ready to get my “Jared” on, when a guy brought the line to a standstill with his hands-free chattering, confusing himself and the sandwich artist as to which words applied to which conversation.
And how well can two friends bond while having independent conversations on their Blue Tooth headsets? At this rate, our relationships are going to have as much depth as a Seinfeld – Newman greeting.
So maybe we should shift our focus from staying connected to making connections. Cell phones give us the world at the touch of a “send” button, but they’re no justification for ignoring the life around us.
Besides, it’d be smart to keep all lines open…you never know when your “burning bush” will come calling.