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