Cellphones as menace on the trail

An unwelcome guest on any trail I hike.

An unwelcome guest on any trail I hike.

Imagine.  There you are hiking out in the middle of nowhere.  You’ve found a quiet trail with nothing but the sounds of Gambel’s quail chattering in the bush.  Ah, Nature.  Ah, solitude.

Then, boom, you hear a human voice chattering on a cellphone.  She’s coming down the trail as if her mundane conversation is the most important thing in the world.  In the space of a few seconds, this self-centered, insecure person has not only violated my solitude but to my mind she has violated her own.

She is too caught up in the unreal outside world as to begin an understanding of Nature.  She does not hear the quail.  She does not see the field of subtle wildflowers at her side.  The tiny fiddlenecks, phacelia and lupine.  Nor does she smell the aroma of the creosote.

I use a woman here only because that is what I see on the trail.  My hiking experience tells me that person will be talking about her children, her boyfriend, politics at work, the trivial stuff that accounts for most of the day.

The New York Times had a related article this morning, “Cellphone Talkers Proved To Be Irritants, Study Says.”  The article fails to mention “cellphone talkers” on the trail but it is even worse there than being captive to these incessant talkers on a bus, standing in a line at Starbucks or anywhere else.

I’m for promoting a law.  Leave your cellphones at the Trailhead.


An ear to a sorry future

I am happy to report that I am immune to at least one spreading and dangerous disease.  That is cellphone abuse.  My DNA won’t allow it.

By cellphone abuse, I don’t mean a heavy-breather calling you up.  I speak of of the drugged user, the one who is addicted to keeping in almost constant contact with a certain network of friends, the one who is changing America for the worse much more than Big Government.

I was reminded of this sorry state of affairs this morning at the corner coffee shop.

As I waited in a long line in front of the pastry shelves, I turned to the person in back of me, a young black woman of maybe 20, and I asked her, trying to make pleasant an otherwise boring moment, “It all looks good, huh?”  Meaning the pastry of course.  She looked up at me briefly, and that was it, the sum of our interaction.

It was then I gathered she was afflicted.  She had the disease.  A cellphone was stuck in her ear, listening to a friend.   I knew it was a friend because of the easy chat and occassional laughter.

Lost of course was a fleeting opportunity of a not-so-young white man and a very young black woman to communicate.  But instead it was muffed.  Who knows, she might have learned something.  She might have left a good impression instead of a bad one, even with a little smile.

She and zillions of other Americans have been sucked in and are victims of Big Business.  Advertising works.  Everytime there is a new upgrade, no matter how small, Americans have to have it.  We are the eternal sucker consumers.

We are headed toward a time when we will become even more isolated, afraid and suspicious of those who aren’t on our phone lists.  Nothing good can happen from that.

McLuhan was right.  The medium is the message.  By using the cellphone abusively, we change the way we are, we change the way America was in a better time.  We become even less human.

Where are the Tea Partiers when we really need them?  I want My Country Back, I want to live again in a land with open lines to all my neighbors, not just the ones who don’t have cellphones stuck in their ears.