[Opinion] - You Are About To Experience A Dropped Call

I have recently returned from holiday. It rained everyday. Which wasn't too disappointing; rain is actually my preferred weather system. I'd rather be damp then nipple-blisteringly hot or frozen more solid then a Butterball turkey. And it wasn't as though I went to some exotic location to work on my tan (my average skin tone could best be described as Alabaster-of-Pearl). No, I went where I usually go, to a cottage on the edge of a lake, where I can sit by the water, tapping lightly on my laptop, while ducks try to rape each other under my dock.

The rain relented long enough each day for the neighbours to appear, some to lounge on their own docks, listening to their own ducks rape each other, while others took to bikes and canoes to enjoy the calm before the inevitable next storm. All except for one fellow from a few cottages down. He decided that in this brief moment of sun and beauty, he would stand in my front garden and yell at someone on his phone. Which brings me to today's topic: cellphones, and how we now all get to be assholes on the go.

There was a time, not so long ago, when cellphones didn't have the range they do today. So, for about a decade after their first true market penetration, much like a dentist's drill and a tank of laughing gas, having one didn't necessarily mean you could use it. No, it meant that there were still some parts of the world where you could be out of touch, and that taking a holiday meant that no one could contact you, even Ed McMahon with that giant cheque of his. Now though, with 3G, 4G, and Kenny G coverage, there practically isn't a corner of the world where a phone won't work. Except, of course, in my kitchen, where coverage is still stuck in the pre-Industrial era.

What this means is that someone with no concept on an in-door voice can stand in my front lawn and be very dismissive to what I assume would a lovely woman if you met her out of the office. All the while wearing the sort of loud tropical shirt usually worn by Americans abroad. My cottage is up a small country road, just wide enough for a single vehicle, lined on one side in the customary manner of alternating between an impenetrable hedge, or a seven foot deep ditch. On the other side are the cottage gardens, a term used in it's most liberal sense. The business, the youth of today would say, is in the back. Up front, it's more then a strip of heat scorched crab grass that hasn't been pretty since the Eocene era. Such is the way for all the cottages along this road. So, if you happen to linger, anyone inside a cottage whose windows are open will become very familiar with your conversation.

My cottage is also very  close to the merger with the main road. Which means I can be treated to idling cars, rumbling trash bin wheels as folk pile up for morning collection, and the occasional congregation of passing joggers. So, under the pretence of watching his several small children ride their tricycles up and down the country road, this gentleman staked himself a claim on the edge of my yard, and checked his messages. Over, I needn’t mention but feel I should, a bluetooth headset.

Listening to him ramble on, and I had to, the only other option was to crank the radio and attempt to out annoy him with the works of Duran Duran. But listening to him, I was able to make two deductions: 1) he is either a very good lawyer, or a very bad accountant, and b) if I were to encounter him in a social setting, I would be very tempted to punch him in the throat. So, I assumed that he was a lawyer. I also assumed that he was talking to a client who was interested in an update on her case, an update he was less willing to give then most men are willing to willing take a prostate exam.

This is why I assumed he was a very good lawyer, because the condescending runaround he gave her was nothing short of amazing. From hearing only his very loud side of the conversation, I could easily follow her line of questioning, which was a very simply attempt to gain any piece of actual information at all. But cleverly, he deflected with “Jackson has that file,” “the reason I'm here is so you don't have to ask those sorts of questions,” and my personal favourite, “that was discussed in a meeting in March, which I was unable to attend.”

As entertaining as it was, it does remind a person of a time when people had to actually put some effort into being an asshole. When people didn't run red lights because they were checking their text messages, but rather ran red lights because they were eating burritos. Or when seeing a person, flailing their arms and talking to themselves on the street meant they were a simple crazy person instead of a self involved lunatic. Call me old fashioned, but I only take phone calls when I'm sitting down and alone. I never check texts until I've got nothing more important to do then read a message that probably only says, “hey, what are you doing," and I never stand in other people's front yards and shout that “accounts like his can be viewed from multiple angles.”

I remember a time when people had to go out of their way to be rude, when it was more then just an incidental side effect of being sequestered squarely in your own personal life tube. I remember when, if I wanted to shut a door in someones face, you had to time it right for maximum effect. You had to calculate the rate they were approaching the door with the force of it slamming shut, and you had to do it all in your head, none of this asking Siri nonsense. I suppose if I'm saying anything, it's that if you're going to be an ass, at least take some pride in your work. Don't be passive, and don't let your phone do your talking for you.

As for the lawyer, I don't know how his ordeal ended, as he eventually wandered off. But, it brought me no end of delight when, on the next day, whilst dragging one of his children on an inner tube behind his boat, he ran out of gas. Then persisted while first stranded in the middle of the lake, then all the while a kindly neighbour gave him a tow back into shore, that he didn't need anymore gas, and that there was obviously something wrong with the engine.

I'm not ashamed to admit I hoped that some ducks chose his boat as a rape parlour.
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About MR. Clark

Adopting the descriptor of "successfully unpublished author", MR. Clark began writing things on the internet in 2012, which he believed to be an entirely reputable and civilized place to find and deliver information. He regrets much.


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