Question: Chuck-no chuck?

By Steve Estes

Strictly Drivel

Chuck it, or don’t chuck it: A question we all face

I’m still trying to convince myself why I need a cell phone.

Of all the modern conveniences that have come down the pike in the last two decades, I think the cell phone is the most onerous and potentially hazardous.

I understand the convenience. I understand the “always in touch” mentality that goes with that silly little piece of technology that hangs off nearly everyone’s belt these days. But just because I understand it doesn’t mean I wholeheartedly agree with the concept.

The cell phone has robbed many of us of privacy. Because we have one, folks seem to think we’re always available. All they have to do is dial that number, and we’re all expected to be on the other end.

Privacy issues aside, however, cell phones have become intrusive.

I rarely walk into a restaurant anymore where I don’t hear two or three people shouting into the phone.

That’s annoying.

Not to say I’m not guilty of using the darn thing in restaurants, but I do at least try and keep my voice down where my conversation isn’t privy to the whole place. People tell me I talk too softly to start with. That might be a blessing when it’s combined with cell phone usage.

Just the other day, I had a figurative run in with a cell-phone wielding bicyclist.

The guy was riding his bike down the path on Key Deer Blvd. and trying to talk on his phone at the same time. He wasn’t using a head set so he had one hand on the bike handlebars and one hand on the phone.

He kept weaving out into traffic, drifting toward the side where his hand was on the bike. Unfortunately, that drift carried him out into the traffic lane. I and three other cars had to slow to a crawl to avoid this guy, and gun around him when the road was clear.

He was oblivious to the consternation he caused and just kept right on talking.

Then, there was the lady at the gas pump a couple of days ago. She had so much trouble trying to pump gas and talk on the phone at the same time that she gave up on the gas and walked across the parking lot to continue the conversation, leaving four people in line at the pumps.

It’s also a good thing the phones are mostly plastic because when she finally finished the conversation she dropped the phone on the ground. One good spark in a gasoline saturated atmosphere…..

I followed a lady the other day down US 1 who was trying to talk, drive and take notes all at the same time. I don’t know what the notes looked like, but if I had to sketch her tire marks they would have resembled a drunk on a three-day binge trying to walk home—for seven miles.

She would repeatedly speed up and slow down, and even occasionally took her hands off the steering wheel to gesticulate at the phone. She propped the phone on her shoulder, crooked her neck to hold it, and proceeded to try and write and talk at the same time. Each time she did that one, she drifted into oncoming traffic.

At least four passing motorists blew their horns at her when she drifted into their lane. She used her free hand to give them a single-digit salute—oh wait–she didn’t have a free hand so she took the one off the steering wheel.

That’s annoying.

Another of my pet peeves is the person who refuses to shut the phone off, or at least not answer it, for any reason.

I was visiting a public restroom last week when from the stall at the end of the row came this really silly phone ring.

The guy, I assume guy since it was the men’s bathroom, proceeded to answer the phone, carry on a conversation, and then must have made excellent points with the person on the other end by flushing the toilet in their ear.

I left. Really annoyed.

So here I sit torn between the conveniences I know the phone provides, and the overwhelming urge to walk to the side of US 1, wait for a large truck, and chuck the phone under the tire as it passes.

Or perhaps I can just call someone I don’t really like and flush the phone down the toilet while they listen. Let them figure out where this conversation is going.

It’s in my hand. It’s only a few dozen steps to US 1. The wind is calm, I used to be a pitcher, and a rather accurate one.

Damn, it’s ringing.

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