Question of the Day

(The bane of my existence. Photo by Robin)

Today’s post is brought to you by Question of the Day. Life is getting to be so settled and routine that I don’t have much to post about these days. That’s a very good thing in some ways.

What is something that most people consider a modern-day convenience that you consider to be a pain in the neck?

Bet you’re wondering what my answer will be (as if it isn’t obvious already!).

Without a doubt, my answer is: the cellular phone.

I hate them. I was determined not to have one. Then our daughter-in-law was due to deliver our granddaughter while M and I were on vacation in San Francisco and I didn’t want to be out of touch when the baby was born so I caved in.

The joke was on me, by the way. The baby wasn’t born until after we returned home. Heh.

I’ve always disliked cell phones. When I worked in the pharmacy my biggest pet peeve of all time were customers who would come to the window to be waited on with a ringing cell phone in hand, waving to me to wait while they take the call. Some would come up while already in the midst of a conversation. I worked in a busy pharmacy with a staffing shortage. I didn’t have time to stand and wait while the customer discussed their personal business about the big fight they had with their boyfriend last night. I might not have minded nearly as much if the calls were actually business calls. I mean, sure, people gotta work and sometimes that means answering the cell phone while picking up your prescription. But a personal call? Nope. Unless it’s an emergency. I understand that, too. But I’m not waiting while you talk about how that bitch who used to be your BFF was hitting on your man at the party you went to last night. And I most certainly don’t want to hear the details of how poorly your underwear is fitting these days. (One woman actually stood at the pharmacy counter and talked about this on her cell phone, at length, for at least five minutes. Who knew there was five minutes worth of conversation to be had about panties?)

I don’t want to listen to the very personal conversations of strangers. I am frequently amazed by how much of their personal business people will discuss, in public, on a cell phone. It’s as if they don’t think anyone else can hear what they’re saying. Sometimes it’s fascinating, but mostly, it’s annoying.

I don’t like being at a restaurant or a concert and having to listen to other people’s phone calls. It’s rude. An emergency would be one thing, but most of the time it’s nothing like that at all.

Recently (sometime over the past few months), M and I were having dinner somewhere and there was a long table with about 10 or so young folks (young as in 18-21 year olds) having a celebratory dinner. Throughout their dinner (and ours), most of them were on their cell phones, either talking or texting. I wondered at the time: Are they talking and texting to each other?

Probably not. But it might not be so surprising if they were. I suspect not one person at that table thought it was an impolite thing to do.

I dunno. Maybe it’s just me. But I like to converse with the people I’m spending time with face-to-face. Otherwise, I’d be at home. Talking on my cell phone.

Speaking of at home, we dumped our land line when we moved. M the Younger, who is house sitting for us, has a cell phone and wouldn’t use the land line so why pay $25 a month for something no one is using? We decided to go strictly cellular. M the Elder, catching up with the times and the rest of his family, now has his own cell phone. We are a modern-day family.

I still hate my cell phone. With the land line we were each able to pick up a phone extension and talk when we phoned our sons or friends or other family members we both wanted to speak with at the same time. I could hear what people were saying, without static or the call breaking up. Calls were never dropped. I can’t say the same for the cell phone.

I’ve had my cell phone for almost two years. Perhaps in another five years or so I’ll be so used to it that I’ll be wondering why I thought it was worth a rant on my blog.

Use of advanced messaging technology does not imply an endorsement of western industrial civilization. ~Anonymous email sig line


The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill

(View of Lombard Street from Coit Tower area on Telegraph Hill. April 2006.)

One of the reasons I flashbacked to our San Francisco trip (and not some other trip or hike or family event) was that M the Elder and I recently watched the film The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill. The film is a documentary about a man named Mark Bittner and his relationship with a flock of wild parrots in San Francisco. It’s an amazing film with great cinematography. The ending brought tears to my eyes (so did a few scenes in between).

I highly recommend the film. Rush right out and rent it now. Or order it from Netflix. Or whatever it is you do to rent DVD’s and/or videos these days.

(Parrots in flight. From Mark Bittner’s website.)

Seriously, see this film. You won’t regret it. Have tissues handy.

Sometimes, in life, I feel like a blue-crowned parrot living in a world of cherry-heads. You’ll have to see the movie if you want to know what I mean.

Complaint of the day: Winter-like weather has been moving into the Bogs. My complaint isn’t about that. After all, winter is a fact of life and no matter what they say about global warming, it still gets cold and winter-like. No, my complaint is about something different. It concerns my internet connection.

We’re hooked up to the rest of the online world via Road Runner through Time-Warner cable company. It should be noted that we don’t have cable for our television viewing pleasure. Just a cable internet connection. Some people think that’s weird, including our cable company. But we have no reason to spend big bucks on cable television. We can pick up quite a few channels without cable via the old-fashioned antenna on the roof. With M the Elder’s entertainment center we’re also able to get quite a few HD stations. I can’t watch Trading Spaces or the latest movie being shown on HBO (which was probably the same movie being shown ten years ago when we subscribed to HBO), but we get enough variety that life without cable television doesn’t feel like we’re lacking in anything at all. In fact, we’ve probably gained a lot since we don’t have as many choices to keep us planted on the couch.

Back to the point of this diatribe…

When winter weather moves in, our cable internet connection goes on the fritz. It sputters, it spurts, it works amazingly well for one minute and crashes the next. On cold days it goes out for hours. Or the whole cold day. On windy days it acts as though it’s being blown about by the wind, going in and out.

Maybe if they buried these cables, as well as the power lines, we’d have less of this crap.

Just saying.

Wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weights you down. ~Toni Morrison

NaBloPoMo: Day 4