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July 19, 2001

Call Me!

There is a shared moment in which we are all out of control. We sit, strapped into our overpriced seats, inside an illogically massive transportation device, and we just let go. We have no choice.

We may control the climate with those efficient and effective fish-eye air holes. We may control the light cast upon our reading material. We may even control what we hear as we escape to the monophonic melodies of some forgettable recording artist.

Can I control whether you'll talk to me, your neighbor at 30,000 feet? Nope. Can I control whether I'll speak English when you do talk to me? You betcha.

No matter how many calls you've made from your cell phone prior to boarding, no matter how many times you've opened your laptop at the gate, there is a moment, corporate wannabe, when you can do nothing but think - not do. Takeoff is the great equalizer.

Yesterday I went for my smog check - or what is called in every other state an emissions inspection. The technician struck up a conversation with me about cell phones - and how he doesn't understand, when he comes to work at 5am, who all these other people on the road are talking to - and why it can't wait until they stop driving. Just then, a cabbie drove up, cell phone firmly attached to ear, and the technician gestured toward him as if to say, "See?"

He told me he'd lived in this country for 13 years and didn't have a cell phone. I quickly did inventory: cell phone, pager, voicemail, palm pilot, laptop, desktop, ber-access.

So, I went on cell phone hiatus. I waited patiently at the ARCO station, knowing I could make the ten phone calls in my mental outbox in an hour when I returned home.

Today, as I sit at LAX, awaiting a flight that leaves six hours after the flight on which I was booked, I feel smugly judgmental as each passerby makes an urgent, too-good-for-a-pay-phone call, rather than talking with their travel companions. And, sadly, I realize how much work I could've gotten done, had I my cell phone with me today.

Instead, I've read, I've written, I've talked (with humans right here at the airport with me), I've consolidated my many lists, and I've flirted with a boy way too young for me - but who was just served a beer, so he can't be that young.

Oh, I'd get into much less trouble if I had my cell phone. But would I have enjoyed my day at the Museum of Modern Travel?

Posted by bonnie at July 19, 2001 1:57 PM