More ubiquity, this time cell phones. Everyone uses them, and everyone knows they’re everywhere. They can be very practical when the opportunity presents itself, but more often than not, they seem to simply serve the mundane moments of physically being alone that arise during the day. Think about people you see walking down the street alone, or eating alone, or driving alone. They’re not alone anymore. More than a fair share of those same people are now on a mobile phone.
My fascination with the technology has arisen from the fact that the technology was virtually non-existent ten years ago, and now it is omnipresent in society. Because of this fast rise to social prominence and acceptance, I tend to wonder how people thought and acted prior to the technology. What did those same people do while they walked down the street or ate food in a restaurant alone ten years ago? I walked and ate alone in 1994, and contemplated. Not grand schemes of life or anything, just minor occurrences that I may have encountered earlier that day or just prior. And I think I was pretty comfortable walking and eating and contemplating and alone. But you don’t see this behavior nearly as much as you used to, which leads me to believe that people walking and eating and doing anything that would involve being alone, whom are also on the phone, are probably not comfortable being alone.
So if I had to speculate on why cell phones are so important now. I’d say it’s because only very small percentages of the public like being physically alone, and not because it’s handy when you get locked out of the car.
I do think as well, that cell phones can be practical. But for some reason, I don’t usually apply their practicality to my own life. I do, often times, inject cell phone use into movies made before the turn of the century and the technology’s ubiquity. I often speculate over how the technology could’ve averted conflict and basically eradicated the entire premise of the movie or program in question. Of course, this equation only works with movies that do not have rich people or spies in them, because they always seemed to have some sort of mobile phone with them prior to the introduction of mobile phones into all strata of society, which makes their movies unalterable. Historical movies also don’t apply. Jesus still would’ve been crucified in ‘The Passion of The Christ’ if the apostles had cell phones. Actually, they probably would’ve been crucified as well for even having them. But I digress. Crimes and any form of miscommunication could certainly have been averted, had the technology been more widespread, as displayed in the following scenarios:
Die Hard: Would it have happened if everyone inside Nakatomi Plaza had a cell phone? No.
So I Married An Axe Murderer: Would Mike Meyers be so afraid of his new bride while on their honeymoon if his friends could’ve used a cell phone to call him and tell him that his wife is not in fact, an axe murderer? No.
Pulp Fiction: And would Jules have been able to give Ringo such a long speech about his recent epiphany if everyone in the restaurant had cell phones? No (because someone would’ve called the cops and we would’ve got short changed of ‘Path of the Righteous Man’ speech because of it. Did I really need to make that connection for you?)
I went for a walk to go get something to eat today, all alone, and this was what I contemplated…