It's no wonder people identify so closely with Mickey
Guisewite's column. It's about our fears, foibles, frustrations,
anxieties and pet peeves as we juggle work, family and
life in general. In short, it's a column about coping
and functioning in our second-by-second, ever-changing
world, written with refreshing humor, compassion and perspective
by a woman who is constantly grappling with it all.
SOME THOUGHTS ON OUR NATIONAL TALKING EPIDEMIC
idea for the "Great Cell Phone-Out" came the other day
when I was working in the library trying to get away from
the constantly ringing phone in our house.
a place where quiet is the rule.
-- Ring. Ring. Ring. I looked up from my legal pad and
noticed a girl's backpack ringing. I looked at her. The
people at the tables surrounding her looked at her.
it was of no use. Even with 20 sets of eyes glaring at
her, she still couldn't help herself.
she said in a hushed voice. And then the conversation
about what Emily and Allison are going to wear to the
prom began wafting in my direction.
lost her after the part about purple nail polish because
another phone was ringing.
Phil!" a voice bellowed from the biography section. "I'm
in the library! You saw Stu at the golf dome?! No kidding!"
that, the library turned into a cell phone free--for-all
-- Ring. Ring. Ring. "Hi, Margaret. What's up?" Ring.
Ring. Ring. "Hey, Bill. Guess what I'm doing?" Ring. Ring.
Ring. "Hi, Marci. No. Now I'm at the computer terminal.
The last time you called I was in the magazine section."
I packed my things and left. Mind you, I also use a cell
phone, and because I do I know that there are three types
of cell phone users: those who use it for emergencies
only, those who use it for regular family check-ins to
keep in constant touch with their loved ones, and those
who use it to discuss sports scores in the middle of a
the third category of cell phone users who are ruining
it for the rest of us. "Yap. Yap. Yap. I'm just here at
the cleaners ..." "Yap. Yap. Yap. Chicken breasts are
just $1.29 a pound ..." "Yap. Yap. Yap. I'm thinking of
highlighting my hair ..."
it's time for the stronger ones of us to help all cell
phone users face the problem as a group. I propose the
"Great Cell Phone-Out," a 24-hour period during which
we turn off our cell phones and go cold turkey.
we have what it takes to face our talking problem? Will
we become nothing but a mass of trembling, incoherent
wrecks, counting the seconds until we can call our friends
and compare cell phone withdrawal stories?
the other hand, maybe 24 cell phone-free hours is just
what we need to begin the momentum. Maybe after 48 hours
we'll no longer get the shakes when we find our battery's
dead. Maybe after a week, we'll actually have periods
where we forget about talking. Maybe after a month, we'll
get through a church service without someone's purse ringing.
long shot, I know. But still, the secret dream of someone
who has one giant headache from all the secondhand chatter.