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West Side Stories

A Tosa resident for almost 20 years, Karen is a mom and freelance writer, addicted to playing tennis. When not on the tennis court, she spends the fall and winter in the stands at Green Bay Packer and Marquette basketball games.

Karen is the author of “Grab a Bite,” a dining out column and the former community columnist for the Wauwatosa NOW newspaper.

Prisoners in Everyone's Cell

Things that bug me

We just returned from a brief vacation to the land where Brett now rules the land. Yes, New York City is quite bedazzled by Broadway Brett…at least until he throws that first interception. Then we’ll see if those jersey sales slow down a bit.

 

Anyway, the one thing that I notice more often when I travel are cell phones and how deeply imbedded they are in our culture. Everywhere you go people are firmly attached to their cell phones. I know. Kind of a “duh” statement but still sort of chilling. No doubt about it, we are in touch, everywhere, no matter where we go.

 

(Oh and don’t forget that Brett and his cell phone were all a big part of Favre-gate, so at least he’s got that signal down.)

 

When we used to go on trips, and I’d see something that I think would interest my kids, I’d make a mental note of it and tell them when we got home. Or if I was really prepared, I’d take a photo and later share the accompanying story. Now, I take a photo and send a “pix” message. (And trust me – I do not have a fancy cell phone at all.) Sort of like carrying my kids in my pocket for the trip – very little cost and less attitude.

 

When we accidentally ran smack-dab into Mercedez Benz Fashion Week, I knew my 16-year old daughter would be jealous but would definitely want to share in the experience. So I snapped cell phone pix and sent them to her. Suddenly, my messages were slightly more cool and less annoying than the week before.

 

One thing that puzzles me about cell phones are those Bluetooth headset things that people wear around. I think they’re great for people that are driving. Very convenient and slightly more safe than the hands-on option. What I don’t get, however, are the people that use headsets when they’re NOT driving…or doing anything else. Suddenly the weight of a cell phone is more than they can bear? Or, that Bluetooth hanging on your ear is the next big thing in fashion? I don’t think so.

 

And no discussion of cell phones would be complete without mentioning etiquette. We are definitely still writing those rules. What we should and shouldn’t do with our cell phones. During movies? Bad. On the street? Apparently OK because EVERYONE is doing it….everywhere. We’re texting, we’re checking e-mail. And, as a result, we’re oblivious to our surroundings.

 

That brings us to the topic of loud cell phone conversations. Here’s my proposal: If you are talking on a cell phone in public, loudly and in front of others, your conversation is everyone’s business. In other words, we get to participate.

 

For instance, in the airport, I heard one woman talking about how she and her husband were bidding on a house but they and the seller were $9,000 apart on a price. Since she was speaking so loudly that all of us at Gate B3 could hear her, I think we were entitled to say things like: “Girl! You stick to your guns. The market’s bad, honey. Lowball it. You can’t lose!” What? That’s rude but her talking loudly isn’t? I don’t know. Seems fair (and fun) to me!

 

We could have a slogan for this new rule: “Your loud chat is everyone’s business!” Or, “Go ahead and talk loud. I can’t wait to hear more!” Or “Speak up! Those of us on the other side of the city can’t hear you!” Just imagine the possibilities.

 

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