What was the most sensitive topic at my family gathering this Christmas? War in Iraq? Anti Bush screeds? Religion in politics? Nope. Cell phone blockers.
I won’t say who got one for Christmas (they’re illegal in the US and have to be imported, and they’re shipped labeled “toaster” or something . . . not that I know.) The package got opened. Out comes a little device half the size of a mass market paperback. It blocks cell phone calls. So pandemonium breaks loose. First, “What Is It?” Then comes “Does it work?” Instantly, we all reach for our cell phones, the blocker goes on, dropped calls everywhere. No signal can be found. Hooray! yells two thirds of the room. Free at last! No more dimwit loudmouths forcing me to listen to their insipid social lives!
After about twenty minutes of war stories about how rude people with cell phones can be, the other side rallies: But! You’re tromping on my rights! Who gives you the power to make me lose a call? You’re trying to control me, what if my mother-daughter-best friend-daschund is having a heart attack and I need to get to the hospital? What if my child decides an emergency trip to the mall must be made Right Now!
Then comes the tyranny of the smother mother; too much contact with children; too little contact with children; gangs, rapists, and how the world is changing and if you don’t like it, get out of the way.
I don’t know if that fairly summarizes the arguments. The only time I really wish I had one of these puppies is in the airport waiting for flights, and trying to write on my laptop around yammering cell phone users. Other than that, I would never dream of making you miss a call. No never.