Cell-phones swallowing big city
Editor’s note: Dick Hauserman, one of the founding fathers of Vail Mountain, is a regular correspondent who shares his views of the valley and the world with the Vail Daily and its readers.
I love NY. New York in the fall is a wonderful place to be. There’s pleasant weather, low humidity, many interesting places to visit and an opportunity to reconnect with old friends.
My wife, Bobba, and I are here for two months. We live on the Upper East Side and are taking art classes at the National Academy of Art just two and a half blocks away.
New York is a great place to take long walks up and down Park and Madison avenues. It is invigorating and there is a lot to see, but a person can not walk very far without being aware of an unusual phenomenon – almost a mania.
The town’s folk are out everyday walking dogs, pushing strollers and talking to friends and acquaintances. I never knew there were so many attractive moms, 25- to 40-years-old, dressed revealingly and pushing their little dears. Often with their strollers, they will be walking in tandem with a friend.
When the main high school and prep schools in the neighborhood let out, hundreds of teenagers, some in school uniforms, appear to be celebrating, smiling, having fun and enjoying each other’s friendship.
But the phenomenon – the dog tenders, the moms with strollers, the nannies with strollers, the business men and the teenagers all seem to have a cell phone in their ear. Well maybe not all, but you can hardly walk a block without passing four or five people with cell phones in their ear.
What are they talking about? Why so many conversations? I try to listen, but I never seem to learn what they are talking about.
You talking to me?
Frequently, I will turn around thinking someone behind me is saying, “Hello, hello.” It is not a friend. It is a cell phone.
With a line forming behind her, a lady was checking out at the Food Emporium, cell phone in her ear, fumbling for her checkbook in her purse-all the time talking, talking. What was she talking about?
On the subway, a rider kept dialing on her cell phone trying to make a connection from down under.
As I came up to Lexington Avenue from the subway, there was a man trying to find his money to pay the cab driver while talking on his cell phone. He was probably closing a big deal.
Just in front of our building, a lady was talking on her phone with a dog on an expandable leash doing his business in the planter near the curb. A sign said, “Curb your dog.” She was so engrossed in her conversation she did not realize the dog had wrapped itself five times around the nearby stop sign and began to yelp.
The sidewalk restaurants are frequently very busy and it is not uncommon to see many customers talking on their cell phones while waiting to get in.
Returning from art class, three teenage girls were walking side-by-side, each with a cell phone in her ear, giggling through three separate conversations.
And just the other day, Bobba’s daughter was working in her garden when her cell phone rang. It was her 10-year-old daughter calling from the kitchen 30 feet away.
Most of the many stories about cellphones on the street occurred in our neighborhood. On a recent day, we took a long walk to midtown – 5th Avenue near Bergdorf’s, Saks and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. It was a beautiful Saturday, about 1 p.m. The sidewalks were crowded. I never saw so many cell phones. What do they talk about?
The advancement of digital technology and cell phones has been rapid. They get smaller and more complicated. One wonders how so many people can single-handedly dial numbers.
I guess the epitome of what I am writing about occurred in a recent T.V. ad. It showed a large directors’ meeting and a large directors’ table with about a dozen members of the board. They are talking to each other via cell phones.
One can not help but be aware of this new phenomenon. It is part of the new age in which we live. Maybe it is just me, but I am amused by watching the parade. What will it all lead to?
Perhaps, I should put a bug in Andy Rooney’s ear so he can close one of his 60 Minutes shows with the overwhelming impact of cell phones on our society.
So until then, yes, I do love New York.