I don’t find the ubiquitous use of cell phones, cell phone cameras, text messagers and laptops disquieting. I enjoy this super-communicative environment. But why is it so often an appurtenance of over-the-top self-involvement?
We used to worry about boom boxes deafening the next generation. Now we fret about cell phones and brain tumors. But the behavioral aspects of cell phone use get little attention.
Every day I watch cell phone egomaniacs refusing so much as to give an inch on crowded streets, acting as if no one else had right of passage, not even the elderly using walkers. Is this outer blindness symptomatic of an inner psychic blindness, an inability or unwillingness to walk in anybody else’s shoes even for a moment?
And who is on the other end of these passive-aggressive conversations? Fellow obliviots?
Starbucks and similar cafes are an interesting study. There are usually the people sitting quietly in a corner behind a laptop and then there are the cell phone look-at-me’s, calling attention to themselves, trying hard to turn everybody else into wallpaper, taking up too much room and acting far too entitled.
I’ve taken to refusing to step aside. I love and admire the way New Yorkers have traditionally made room for each other, and I refuse to indulge feckless bullies.