You Didn’t Used to Be that Important

Yes I remember this 1982 model.

Years ago cell phones were those big heavy clunker things by Motorola.  Those early mobile phones reminded me of  cross between a walkie-talkie and a shoe phone.   My department had one that we passed around for the person on call, that and a portable computer the size of luggage.   My department was responsible for grocery store checkout systems, aka scanners.  We were required to provide 24-7 support.    We had it worked out so on-call rotated between employees each week; there was a primary on call and secondary.  The rest of us were just not that important.

Things sure have changed, everyone thinks that they are that important.   Almost everyone has a cell phone and has no qualms using it any time, anywhere unless they are told otherwise; even then some people think that they are an exception.

I have checked out in stores where the sales clerk is on their cell phone.    My contribution to their salary might only be $0.35, but I doubt the person on the phone is helping to pay any of the salary of the “important one.”

I have been in the check-out line in a store and had  to wait along with the others in line while the “important one” finished up their call before they pay for their purchases.  They acted like the clerk was interrupting them.   Now I may be mistaken, but I think they came into the store of their own volition.

How many times have you wanted to toot the horn at the cell-phone-talking driver in front of you that is still mentally at the red light, though it turned green nearly a minute ago.   You know that they are not concentrating on the road and don’t want to cause the “important one” to have an accident by tooting so you don’t.  If you did toot, I am sure that they would think you were out of line asking them to pay attention to the road.

I have watched people in restaurants complain about their server.  Yet there are so many “important ones” on their phone in the restaurant.   Instead of looking at the menu and deciding what they want, they talk until the server arrives.   They asked the server if they have a mushroom-swiss burger; if they looked at the menu they would have known the answer.   They do this all the while taking to another “important one.”   They become peeved when the server wants to know what they want with their burger; there were three options listed in the menu.    The “important one” just flipped the phone up and in a frustrated stage whisper answers the server.  Yet when later when the meal comes this is the first person to complain because their meal is not as they envisioned.  I have yet to make the mental telepathic connection with a restaurant server.

I have watched people give talks and presentations, all the while an “important one” is texting not really paying attention to the speaker.  No one likes to feel like their audience is not interested when they present, and yet will not be as kind to another.  What’s good for the goose obviously is not good for the gander.

Yes, I have a cell phone.  We only have one and share it in our household.   I do not use it at home, and when I am on the road usually I don’t realize it is me ringing (ask my boss who calls me).  I love that I can call home and ask should I bring a pizza home.   I love that if I have car trouble on the road, and I am lucky enough to have service I can call for help. It is a convenience, but not a necessity.  I am sure I have been inconsiderate on occasion with my phone use, I think it is the nature of the beast.   But I hope that I really do remember this reflection and realize I didn’t used to be that important, and I don’t think anything has changed.


One comment on “You Didn’t Used to Be that Important

  1. I enjoyed this article. You are right, a cellphone is not a necessity it is a luxury. I feel blessed to be able to afford my non-contract Straight Talk cell phone, and it serves as my only phone. I remember what it was like not having any phone at all, so I try not to take the fact that I have a phone for granted.

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