Thursday, July 31, 2008

Recovering from Burnout


After writing twenty columns for IFC.com in May, I was completely spent. I had pretty much exhausted everything I wanted to say for at least a couple of months. So now, on the cusp of August, I am feeling a surge of renewed vigor. Before I begin with new posts, I want to post one of my favorites from May, which seems to become more relevant with each passing day:



Trapped in Cell Hell


I tremble as I begin to write this - not out of excitement, but out of rage - because even though the topic has been discussed to the point of exhaustion, the problem just seems to be getting exponentially worse. No, I am not talking about bedbugs (although they're pretty horrendous) or the Bush administration, but the plague that threatens to destroy us all as a civilization.

I'm talking about cell phones and the way they are used by - or inflicted upon, depending on your point of view - society at large.

Let's cut to the chase, shall we? Most people use cell phones in an extremely self absorbed, what-do-I-care-I'm-never-going-to-see-your-face-ever-again kind of way. It's all about THEM, without the slightest regard for anyone nearby. It's as if they're in a narcissistic bubble in which only their whims, desires and concerns exist. The level of ego displayed by cell phone braggarts (both male and female) continues to grow and astound.

Witness this simple case, that happened to me last week. My wife and I were in an ice cream store when a woman sat down - I am not exaggerating here - less than three feet away. I could reach over and grab the salt from her table with the slightest of efforts. She then proceeded to call a friend and for more than twenty minutes give her (my God, the poor friend) explicit details of her ovaries, mammograms, breast tenderness, you name it - all in a clear, ringing voice that would have made Barack Obama say "Wow, nice projection!" My wife and I stared at each other in shock, as this 40-something woman continued to spew her shockingly boring yet intimate conversation to any one who cared to listen, as if the gelato shop was her living room instead of a public place.

Cell phone morons come in all shapes and sizes. There's the Blowhard, the Wall Street business guy who shouts in your ear about deals, money and how crucial he is to the company while he's sitting behind you on the train. There's the Nervous Nellie, the senior citizen who needs to telephone her son every twenty minutes to give him updates about where she is ("We just passed Yaphank" - great, thanks for sharing!). There's the OhmyGod girl ("OhmyGod, you'll never believe what Chanel said last night!"), who will talk nonstop - listening simply isn't an option - a mere two seats away the entire three-hour bus trip.

I could rant all day, but you know what I'm talking about - you deal with it every day, too. So let's start with this basic, painful admission - most peoples lives (and believe me, I include myself in this one hundred percent) are SIMPLY NOT INTERESTING. AT ALL.
So the next time you pick up your beloved cell phone to make a quick (or not so quick) call, try these simple things: cover your mouth with your hand (as if you were telling a secret) and talk in a normal tone of voice. If the person on the phone can't hear you, simply repeat it again,only SLIGHTLY louder. Do not, as the rock band KISS would have you do, shout it out loud. If you are in an enclosed space with other people, say "I can't talk, I'll call you back." I guarantee you, the world will not end abruptly in a fiery cataclysm. And if you're in a coffee shop full of strangers and you get an important call, STEP OUTSIDE.

If we all followed those simple steps, life would be so much nicer, and maybe - just maybe - people would be just a teeny, tiny bit less angry, and wouldn't have to vent in long winded, repetitive blog posts.

I'd love to talk more, but I gotta go do a few errands, pay some bills and beat the crap out of someone. Later!

13 Comments:

Anonymous J.D. said...

I still think this is small potatoes compared to the Bush Administration. Or as I like to call it (as I told you in one of my comments on one of your IFC posts) "The Reverand Jimmy Joe The Second" and his ruthless band of thugs from your 1989 film "Rising Storm". Pretty soon we are going to start smuggling people into Mexico the way this place has gotten, which is not far from how it was in that film. Sad, but true.

August 01, 2008 3:29 AM  
Anonymous Maddie said...

I'm always pleased to have my in-ear headphones and mp3 player when the cell phone morons are talking on the bus.

"How do you make a moron laugh on Saturday?
Tell him a joke on Wednesday."

August 08, 2008 3:04 AM  
Blogger Pupgirl65 said...

I fully agree with you. Whenever I have my cellphone with me it's on vibrate and I never EVER answer it. (which I only do to scare my dad and make him think im trapped un-marked white van and he only has ten minutes to save me or something)I sometimes text on it but it's on rare occasion.
Next time i see a person with a cellphone in public, I'LL RUN!

August 08, 2008 3:13 PM  
Blogger Lisa Michelle said...

This is TOO funny! My fiance and I experienced the same thing at the Momofuku Noodle Bar,except the conversation was about her husband's 'inability' to satidfy her. I'll spare you the gory details. Let's just say 'privacy and couth' are NOT words she's familiar with. LOL

Anyway, just popped in to see what you were up to as of late, since it's been a over a year. Congrats on LTCA, all of your recent success :)

Lisa

August 29, 2008 4:49 AM  
Blogger Lisa Michelle said...

UGH..please excuse the above typos (satidfy?),not to mention the conjunction and decided to take a hiatus after LTCA,!

August 29, 2008 4:55 AM  
Blogger Jérémy said...

Hello Zach , Remember Gremlins ? They're Back ! Really you MUST watch it ! http://fr.youtube.com/watch?v=REGCV6z3VkM

and this

http://fr.youtube.com/watch?v=mDvBVFv-7LM

It's a Belgian ! and he got talents ! Maybe contact it ! Sorry for my english btw

Thank you !

September 01, 2008 12:53 PM  
Blogger Lenny CJ said...

Wow... Funny or... How about us? All the people with cell phones are cell phone morons, it's true, believe me! :) Unfortunately, only rules don't save us... It's scary. And it's all around. Sometimes I think that we must turn back to the pigeon post. Who knows.

Respect at all. Lena from Russia.

PS: classification of morons... cool :)

January 09, 2010 8:04 PM  
Anonymous Kevin Scott Marcus said...

I totally identify! God only knows how many idiots I've come across in the stores who use a cellphone like a megaphone and blast their conversations several aisles over. Some people should learn about that OTHER great use of the cellphone -- texting, as I'm doing right now. It may be narcissistic, but it's a hell of a lot quieter!

February 19, 2011 9:51 PM  
Anonymous Linda said...

ZACH: You forgot to mention the idiots who would rather talk on their cell phone or send text messages than drive safely. They're the worst of them all.

And to those of you who bash the Bush administration and probably voted for Obama: how's that hope and change workin' for ya? ;)

December 04, 2011 6:19 PM  
Anonymous Linda said...

Lenny CJ: I have to have a cell phone with me at all times because of the nature of my job. You see, I'm an on-call caregiver.

No cell phone = no work.

No work = no money to pay bills, and no money to buy clothes and groceries.

So, thanks for calling me a moron. I really appreciate that.

NOT!

Best of luck to you, Zach.

December 04, 2011 6:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Linda: Sorry, I didn't want to offend you. But it's a very simple fact: we're all bothering other people sometimes and we can stop to do it if we try. I recognize that I was such 'moron', I'm trying not to do it - very good rule:) Well, for me, of course. You're disagree, it's your right.
Just maybe... not so serious?:)

Best wishes

December 05, 2011 1:18 AM  
Anonymous Linda said...

I agree that some people can be very inconsiderate when it comes to the use of their cell phones. I actually have a friend who is not beyond text messaging or having a phone conversation with someone while we're having lunch and attempting to catch up. I can't tell you how many times I've wanted to rip that phone out of her hands and throw it in someone's drink, or simply get up and leave. It's hard to have a conversation with someone when they're clucking away on the phone like a hen.

December 09, 2011 10:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find it interesting how extroverts get so very irritated, even angry, when the focus of conversation isn't about THEM, or in a format they can't take over. Wow, so somebody was blaring into their phone oblivious to the world around them? Ummm, that's how you extroverts ate IN GENERAL! If we introverts had a quarter for every windbag who droned in our faces WITH ZERO attention paid to whether we were actually listening or not, we'd buy an island of our own and finally get some quiet!

And besides, being a blogowner should give you appreciation to folks who like to broadcast their every thought to the public masses. Talk about narcissistic.

July 13, 2012 8:37 PM  

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