Saturday, October 31, 2009

What The Cell?

I got this in one of Monique's magazines that she has placed in the loo. Then today at a wedding I attended, someone answered their cellphone in church! The setting here is changed to Mombasa, but what a sweet article. Enjoy.

It was a beautiful day at the beach –blue sky, gentle breeze, calm sea. I knew these things because a man sitting five feet from me was shouting them into his cell-phone, like a play-by-play announcer.

‘IT’S A BEAUTIFUL DAY,’ he shouted. ‘THE SKY IS BLUE, AND THERE’S A BREEZE, AND THE WATER IS CALM, AND THE SURF IS UP...’

Behind me, a woman, her cell phone pressed to her ear, was pacing back and forth. ‘She DIDN’T,’ she was saying. ‘No. She DIDN’T. She DID? Really? Are you SERIOUS? She, did NOT. She DID? NO, she DIDN’T. She DID? NO...’

And so on. This woman had two chil­dren, frolicking in the surf. I found myself watching them, because the woman sure­ly was not. A giant squid could have surfaced and snatched the children, and this woman wouldn’t have noticed. Or, if she had, she’d have said, ‘Listen, I have to go, because a qiant squid just…No! She didn’t! She DID? She…’

And next to me, the play-by-play man would have said: ‘…AND A GIANT SQUID JUST ATE TWO CHILDREN, AND I’M GETTING A LITTLE SUN-BURNED, AND…

It used to be that the beach’s major annoyance was the jerk who brought a boom box and cranked it up so loud the bass notes caused seagulls to explode. But at least you knew where these jerks were. You never know which beach­combers have cell-phones. You’ll settle next to what appears to be a sleeping sunbather, or even (you hope) a corpse, and you’ll sprawl happily on your towel, and you’ll get all the way to the second sentence of your 467-page hook before you doze off to the hypnotic surge of the surf, and...

BREEP! BREEP! The corpse sits up, gropes urgently for its cell-phone, and shouts, ‘Hello! Oh, hi! I’m at the beach! Yes! The beach! Yes! It’s nice! Very peace­ful! Very relaxing! What? She did? No, she DIDN’T! She DID? No, she...’

Loud cell-phoners never seem to get urgent calls. Just once, I’d like to hear one of them say’: Hello? Yes, this is Dr Kariuki. Oh, hello, Dr Makau. You’ve opened the abdominal cavity? Good! Now the appen­dix should be right under the... What? No, that’s the liver. Don’t take THAT out, ha ha! Oh, you did? Whoops! OK, now listen very, very carefully.



The good news is some politicians want to ban cell-phone use. The bad news is that so far they’ve only banned using hand-held cell-phones in cars, which is the one place innocent bystanders don’t have to listen to it. Granted, drivers using cell-phones may cause accidents (‘I gotta go because I just ran over a man, and he’s bleeding from the... What? She DID? NO, she didn’t. She DID? No, she..’)

But seriously folks, I don’t believe dri­vers yakking away on cell-phones are nearly as dangerous as drivers with babies in the back seat. I’m one of those drivers, and we’re definitely’ a menace, especially when our baby has dropped her Barney doll and is screaming to get it hack, and we’re steering with one hand and groping under the back seat with the other. (Groping for Barney would be a good name for a metal band!)

So we should, as a long-overdue safety measure, ban babies.

But that’s not my point. My point is there’s good news on the cellphone front. Several companies are selling devices that jam cellphone signals. Yes! These devices broadcast a signal that causes every cellphone in the immediate vicinity to play the 1974 hit song 'Kung Fu Fighting'. No, that’d be too wonderful. But, really, these devices actually cause nearby cellular phones to register ‘NO SERVICE’.

Unfortunately there’s a catch. Because of an outfit calling itself the ‘Communications Commission of Kenya’ (CCK), these cellphone-jam­ming devices might soon be illegal in Kenya. I say this stinks. I say we should all contact our local politicians. Tell them if they really want to make up for proposing that 'One Parking Bay, One Attendant' idea, they should put down their palmtops for a moment and pass a bill legalising these devices, at least for beach use.

I realise some of you disagree with me. I realise you have solid reasons -perhaps life-and-death reasons-why you MUST have your cellphone working at all times, everywhere. If you’re one of those people, please believe me when I say this: I can’t hear you!

(c) Dave Barry 2001

15 comments:

kellie said...

*bleep* guilty.

I'm one of those who thinks the world will end if my phone is off for 5 minutes.

Learning to switch it off though.

Good one on that lady! I can totally see that conversation. No He DIDN'T! Kind of sounds like one between my sister and I, with tea boiling over on the cooker.

Mama Shujaa said...

LOL. Love how you term it a "sweet" article. A fun read! My cell is for emergencies only adn I cannot imagine being 'stuck' on the beach next to a loud cell-phoner!

gladys said...

Oh no you DIDNT!!No you did,barn cellphones?You did?You didnt?lmao
Didnt has got to be one of the most over used word in modern times Nairobi
So thats what they use to limit signals during events where there's vip's?!
I could have never imagined you having a baby lol

savvy said...

Cellphones should definitely be banned, some of us even answer our cells in class. And it's a Monday and probably someone is calling to ask your mpango for Friday! The lecturer glares at you and strut out to giggle loudly on the phone, "He did What?! No he didn't..."

Mama said...

I have now learnt to not let my cell phone control my life. I leave it very far away and several people complain of how unreachable I am most of the time. I got used to the complaints....they have learnt to live with my 'un-reachableness'

These people who feel they 'must' answer calls, how did they live before the advent of the phones? Sometimes we like taking things a bit too far.

It is just plain disrespectful to answer your calls in a church whether it was a wedding or not! Ban those things I say.

And where in earth did you get that picture of old ugly cell phones? I don't see the nice ones za siku hizi there.

Wyndago said...

Well, unlike the above ladies, I have no issues with my phone.. except that i fiddle with a lot, its like my toy. I mostly use it for other things than I use it to makes calls. I'm a dude. I know cheaper and faster means of communication.

NiKolaS said...

i have a different problem with my telephone. i cradle and caress it way too much. some say that happens in traffic too, it might be dangerous but so far i appear unharmed.

Shiko-Msa said...

Nikolas you caress your phone?

Our Kid said...

@ Kellie... Phones a big intrusion into our lives. Happily for me, they are one of the causes of divorces nowadays.

@ Mama Shujaa... That is something we all should do. That was how life was before the phones got us into this mess.

@ Gladys... Phones should be banned. Some accidents have been attributed to cell phone use. For some reason, hands free doesn't get people excited.

Lets ban them now!

@ Savvy... Lecture halls, churches, prisons, hospitals... epole have phones.

The other one I saw was at a funeral where someone was giving a running commentary. 'Mwili inapelekwa kwa kaburi. Mjane analia...' right during the ceremony!

He did? Oh no, he didn't!!! He did?

@ Mama... Way to go. Join us in the BCC (Ban Cellphones Club).

The photo with old cellphones was just to drive the point home. If I used newer sleek phones, people will be tempted to think, those are beauties. We can't ban them!

Plus, the setting was 2001.

@ Wyndago... Phones are toys, in the truest sense of the word. I hear some people put them in inner garments and wait for vibration. I only hear.

@ Nikolas... What is the PC word to call you. No, not politically correct, but Phone Caresser?

@ Shiko Msa... You picked the Nikolas comment out! Its like you caress something else.

graceful glider said...

the one and only 'Our Kid' ROTFLMFBAO
:D I totally didn't say... Did I noooo.... (vehemently shaking the head) I did?

gladys said...

Now am lost,from caressing phones to putting them in inner garments?!
Are we talking about the same thing?lmao

I dont make calls as much but my one addiction is facebook on my cell

Wyndago said...

Yeah Shiko-Msa, what do you caress?

Shiko-Msa said...

Boys boys boys I most certainly do not caress my phone! Or any other inanimate objects. No I do not have that one. Now off to the naughty corner you two.

Having said that, my phone is not the most reliable thing to reach me by. Sometimes I don't even want to be reached so I switch off the damn thing and spend my time in peaceful ignorant bliss. Luckily when it comes on I don't find any emergency messages like so and so has had a heart attack can you please come quickly and save them.

SupremeGREAM said...

Someone tells me that I squeez my phone too much that one of these days, its going to produce water. I panic if I am running out of charge or units. I'd rather not have a cent in my wallet but have some units on phone. But I try very hard not to include others in my biashara with phone.

Ferideh kenya said...

I am a new blogger and I simply love your stile of writing. How now do I do it as well as you do?
n about this specific one(which I absolutely love by the way)I 2 have learned to stay away 4m cell phones at times but mostly of all, when Im drunk(a rare occasion), and i happen to be sited next to you, you have my permission to take and throy my phone in the ocean or anywhere else if we are not at the beach :). Good work!!!!