Saturday, May 31, 2014


Creepiest phone phrase ever: "Are you alone right now?" Which interrupted my bus journey from Marin to civilization (San Francisco). Chap behind me. On his cell-phone.
I was trying to crawl inside my own brain, when he dialed someone.
It probably doesn't surprise you that I do not like cell-phones, and in fact do not own one.

Years ago I had a beeper. I acquired it the week I left Jasmine Tech, so that people could keep in contact. By the time I stopped the service, cellular devices had caused the disappearance of pay phones.

What do you do when your beeper goes off? You call the message number to find out who it was. Which, if you don't have a cell-phone, means that either you put fifty cents into the nearest pay phone, OR you wait till you get to a regular phone.
Either office, or home.

The net result is that you cannot be reached, nor will you actually want to be reachable, unless you are near a land line.
Otherwise you'd have a cell-phone.

Here are numbers at which you can call me.
If I'm there.

"Going home surrounded by ugly people...."

Yeah man, thank you for using that thing on public transit. Those of us who weren't on our own phones now know that you lament how facially unappealing you think we are.
The public safety message that plays every block or so on the buses operated by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency advises you to keep your eyes up and your cell-phones down.

"Keep your eyes up, and your phone down!"

Nominally that's so no one will opportunistically yank it out of your hand and take off running. The cover story is crime prevention, and a measure of harmony among the public.

But it's really for the benefit of your fellow passengers.
Who don't want to hear about your fabulous life.
And hate the sound of your voice.
As well as your egomaniac self-absorption.
Now kindly shut up.

No, we won't steal your cell-phone.

But we may permanently embed it in you.

You would never be able to switch plans again.

And there might be an insistent ringing in your ears.

You know that you're never alone on the bus, don't you? There is no privacy, there are other people around. Some of whom would rather not hear you being a creep on the trip across the Golden Gate Bridge. If you really need to be on that phone, for what is obviously NOT an emergency, nor something that cannot wait because otherwise your boss will have a panic-attack, kindly ring the bell and get off BEFORE you dial.

Perhaps you're not the big tough psycho you sound like.

Some of us don't need a phone for that.

I am not a nice person.

Just remember that in a way, we are all New York. If you get educated by a rabid Dutchman on public transit, everyone else will all of a sudden become absorbed in their own cell-phone life. Which is fascinating!
They can't notice a thing, they aren't witnesses, and they won't actually intervene in any way.
No one wants to get in between you and the maniac.
There's no telling what will happen if they do.
Trust me. You really are alone.

Ring, ring.

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All correspondence will be kept in confidence.

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