Looking around, do you see the ebb and flow of an ocean of pale, expressionless faces staring blankly at their cell phones? At the drive-thru, is the line backing up because an inconsiderate boob is too busy jabbering away on his phone to place his order? At the restaurant, are you surrounded by a sea of silence; everyone is bent over, working their tiny keyboards and ignoring the people they’re with? Welcome to the epidemic of cell phone addiction. But, how can you tell cell phone addiction from regular cell phone use?
1. Sleep Dialing. After a long day of soliciting moped insurance to the biking crowd, you finally drag your exhausted body to bed for some much needed sleep. In the middle of the dreaming about rescuing Megan Fox from evil pirates in the Straits of Gibraltar on a raft built of Styrofoam cups, you dream you have to return a phone call from your boss, Mr. Stevenson. In the morning, when you show up for work, Mr. Stevenson asks you to join him in his office to discuss his 3:30am wake-up call and to give you your wake-up call.
2. I’m on Fire. No matter what alarm, buzzer or bell goes off, you immediately reach for your phone. You finally convince that really smokin’ hot girl that looks a lot like Megan Fox, from the marketing department to go to the movies with you. Right in the middle of the most romantic scene in the history of cinematography, the fire alarm goes off. Instead of grabbing your damsel’s hand and using her as a human shield against all the other berserk patrons stampeding for the nearest emergency exit, you’re sitting there reading the text from your best bud, Billybob who’s asking how your date is going.
3. Rest Room. It doesn’t matter how incredible that gourmet burger you had for dinner was. And, you might have been able to talk to salesman to take another $5,000 off your new SmartCar. But, no one is going to care if you’re calling them from the little boys’ room at Walmart and they have to listen to potty sounds, especially your potty sounds. There are no words for how truly gross that really is. Do you call during your midnight mating rituals, too? Never mind, don’t answer that. Unless, of course, you have video, then by all means, share! I’ll post it on YouTube and make pennies!
4. Can you hear me now? While driving out to the fringes of town to meet with bikers at the nicest biker bar in town to go over their motorcycle insurance, you realize you’ve lost cell phone signal. You were still apologizing to the Megan Fox look alike for that whole movie theater episode when the dreaded ‘dropped call’ alarm beeps at you. Your heart begins to race, sweat begins to bead on your forehead, and your hands start to shake like your phone on vibrate. Flashing lights draw your attention to your rear view mirror. You pull over to the shoulder and wait for the local law enforcement officer to saunter up to your driver’s side door. He explains that you were weaving uncontrollably and nearly took out granny in her 1972 Lincoln Mark IV. You stutter and stammer as he asks you to step out and perform a field sobriety test. You fail miserably because you’re still distraught over the situation with the dropped call. Once you get to the police station, you wait anxiously for your one phone call. And what do you waste it on? A call to your cell phone to see if you’ve missed any calls.
5. Shut Up And Listen. Once word got back to your boss that you missed the biggest meeting of your career, he politely asks you to place your cell phone in the darkest recesses of your lower regions and to clear out your cubicle post haste. On your way out the door, Megan Fox body double points at you and giggles with her co-workers. Shamed and feeling all alone, you walk to your SmartCar and pull out your cell phone. You punch in # and 1 for your best friend, Billybob, but it goes straight to voice mail. Dejected, you scroll through the list of one touch quick dial numbers searching for the two people on the whole planet that will offer comfort at this low point in your life. After a minute, you find them. Dear old mom and dad, at number 19, right behind the pizza delivery dude, and Chen Yu Fast Chinese Delivery Service.
You spill your guts amid tears of humility and shame. Your parents listen to your heart breaking story and suggest you come over for dinner to discuss your latest epic failure at endeavoring to be a grown up. But they are very explicit when they explain to you; it’s only dinner, you may not move back in and you have to leave your cell phone in the car. You want to protest, but then you have an epiphany and realize your parents haven’t been wrong yet and maybe, for once in your life, you should actually shut up and listen.
Seek Help. If the person described here sounds like you, it just might be time to sit back and re-evaluate that little piece of techno-wizardry stuck to the side of your face. There is help available and your friends just might start to like you again if you actually starting looking them in the eye, instead of texting them from the other side of the booth at the restaurant. You may even get a chance at getting a second date with Miss Almost Megan Fox. Ok, maybe not. But the girl at the Starbucks is checking you out. Why don’t you go over and ask her for her digits?