Shut up or communicate, please

My father taught me focused driving on the streets of Chicago with a single statement that still sticks fifty years later. “Always drive as if the OTHER GUY IS DRUNK!” That was decades before I’d heard the term defensive driving course. I’ve amended that statement since the ubiquitous use of cellphones and texting while driving.  “Always drive as if the other person is DRUNK, DEAF, AND BLIND! No talking was allowed while we were in traffic.  Totally pay attention, shut up and drive.

Fifty years later, robo-phone zombies attempt to cross streets, push shopping carts, park cars, eat in restaurants, travel, and download and play games designed for jogging or walking and cheat death by driving. I think cell phones actually make more sense as  wristwatches.  Two things could be done at once while talking.  Think of a hurried upper management office filler, stuffing their face with a hot Cinnabon and talking simultaneously with a full mouth. You could plan that week long visit with your mother-in-law while running short on time and drying your hair on the high setting.

Certain people tend to talk with their hands.  If the phone could also transmit video the person receiving the call could choose to cut it short, or remember to take daily Dramamine. I think it would be convenient for dog owners. The loved one on the other end could share in the joy of Spuds repeated barking while waiting for the shush of the successful Frisbee fling in a November gale.

Go ahead, scratch your face, itch your scalp, pick your nose, boil water, wave to the neighbors and keep on talking. Billions upon billions of words – invisible symbols of language hanging in cyberspace waiting for an electronic signal to coalesce into communication, or numbing mindless chatter.

No video yet but getting closer.

Why am I so off center from a nature blog and into a rant? We’re in the middle of having our house re-roofed. I mean a total rebuild of our four-seasons room and a portion of the house roof. The damaged structure has already been removed and is open to the sky. Going on four weeks, four voice-mails, and nine emails over schedule. Finally, one subcontractor showed up a week ago. I could tell something was wrong. The two guys that were working the roof were jumpy, they didn’t want the whip around. This week we got some rain and 4-1/2 hours work our of the two regular guys, plus a visit from the whip who talked to our insurance adjuster, and then disappeared again.

During the entire process I’ve been stressing communication, communication, communication. Just call me and let me know what is going on, are the contractors coming out, not coming out, what’s the hold up, where are we going?

These are not the only people I’ve scheduled with this week that were supposed to follow up and failed. All this advanced technology, instant communication, wasted time,  while society remains firmly attached to cell phones, but accomplishes nothing. Is the cell phone the new excuse for malingering, hiding, or wasting employers time and money?

What about a lack of social skills? People are actually walking around pretending to talk into silent phones simply because they don’t want to appear out of place or unwanted. Come on, how many people does it really take to manage our modern lives on a daily basis. How many humans are being micro-managed to death via constant contact through smart phones.

Personally, I preferred the old way.  I  called a company and a live person answered the call. Someone cared about the company image, product, or my concern. If this really is progress. I really want a watch phone able to record and transmit video.  I want someone to finally answer their smart phone with video capability when I call. I want them to see which part of my anatomy is giving a shit because they can’t shut up or communicate, PLEASE!