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Published:July 3rd, 2007 10:00 EST
An All-Too-Common Addiction

An All-Too-Common Addiction

By Terry Sumerlin (Mentor/Columnist)

It was a beautiful spring morning in LaJolla, California. I had flown to San Diego the evening before. After a pleasant breakfast, the cab driver had taken me five miles to LaJolla. In an hour and a half he was to pick me up for the trip to the San Diego airport, where I would catch a shuttle for the two-hour trip down to Ensanada, Mexico. From there I would board the Dawn Princess to Hawaii.

As I strolled through LaJolla, I was completely charmed by its gorgeous Pacific setting and its quaint shops. I sat in one of the shops and sipped coffee, while reading a book and looking at the ocean.

As it got closer to time for Ebbie, the cab driver, to pick me up, I started walking back to LaJolla Cove, where we were to meet. Passing through Ellen Browning Scripps Park, I noticed joggers, walkers, lovers and sightseers. I walked up to a rail and joined the sightseers and stood speechless while gazing at the grandeur of breakers against the rocky shoreline.

A hundred yards or so below was a middle-aged couple sitting on a rock. It appeared they, too, were enjoying the sights, as well as each other’s company.

Suddenly, I couldn’t believe my eyes! “You’ve got to be kidding," I thought. “That lady is actually talking on a cell phone." In one of the most beautiful and romantic places in the world, while apparently with her husband, she was on her cell phone. If I had been her husband, I would have been sorely tempted to push her into the water.

As I turned to walk to the spot where Ebbie would be waiting, I spotted a bag lady who was walking around in the park talking to herself. I couldn’t help thinking she had more sense than the lady on the cell phone.

What is it with people and cell phones? I admit to being biased on the subject. After all, I’ve not only had to stop cutting hair so customers could answer trivial calls; I’ve also had someone who was seated on the front row talk on his phone during one of my speeches. So, I have some rather strong feelings about rude people and their phones. I understand that the devices serve a vital purpose when used wisely. What I don’t understand is why they have become as important to the average person as an oxygen bottle to a respiratory patient.

I also don’t understand why at nearly every restaurant there is someone with a cell phone talking loud enough to be heard in three counties. Is it to impress folks with the fact he/she has a phone? It’s really not that big a deal. Some underprivileged school kids also have them.

And, what ever happened to private conversations? I long for the days when people went into phone booths – and closed the door. Is there no sense of privacy anymore? Who wants to overhear conversations about private business deals or someone’s love life?

For five straight days, while the Dawn Princess was at sea, we were out of range for cell phones. It was wonderful. The moment we made land, like smokers starved for nicotine, many began to dial frantically. I began looking for a “no phoning section."

BARBER-OSOPHY: Somewhat like money, electronic devices make wonderful servants and lousy masters.

Taken from Barber-osophy - Hair We Go Again, Copyright 2004 @ Terry L. Sumerlin

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