Would someone please tell Crabby Old Lady what all the talking is about? In a most unscientific, ongoing study undertaken by Crabby when she is out and about in New York City, more than half the people sharing the sidewalk with her at any given moment are talking on cell phones in varying degrees of distractedness.
Yes, Crabby does own a cell phone, though the reasons are becoming increasingly unclear as she almost never has anything to say that can’t wait until she is not surrounded by general traffic hubbub, honking horns and emergency sirens.
Two new studies were released last week suggesting that hands-free cell phone use in automobiles may not be any safer than hand-held cell phone use in automobiles.
"There's a growing body of evidence, even absent this new research we're doing, that suggests using hands-free cell phones does not minimize the risks of getting into an accident," said Rae Tyson, spokesman for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. "The act of conversation can be extremely distracting, whether or not your hands are on the phone."
- Chicago Sun-Times, 20 July 2004
Crabby now has incontrovertible evidence that the act of conversation - if only of the hand-held variety - can be extremely distracting even when it does not involve an automobile.
In addition, although further study is undoubtedly in order, it apparently causes extreme meanness.
In the late morning on Saturday, Crabby was returning home from a neighborhood grocery shopping trip carrying three bags of food with more in her shoulder bag. As she turned the corner into her block, she was whacked straight-on by another human body. She landed hard on her arse, fortunately well-padded, in a most inelegant position with her groceries splattered and scattered into the street - a smashed tomato, broken eggs, a split melon, shattered light bulbs...
When she looked around to see what she’d hit, Crabby saw a young lady – 19, maybe 20 or 21, she guessed, who was quite attractive by Vogue magazine model standards. The girl was carefully picking her way through the grocery mess as she continued - having left Crabby still on her arse in the middle of the debris - to chatter on her cell phone.
Crabby could muster only an inarticulate “Hey,” as she, still harboring a delusion or two that she is as supple as she was 40 years ago, tried to heave her 63-year-old body upright. The girl glanced back as she stepped off the curb and silently – so as not to interrupt her cell phone conversation - mouthed, “Sorry,” and kept going.
Now this could be just another same old, same old complaint about the rudeness of youthful cell phone users, but there is a kicker. The first thing Crabby noticed when she looked up from the sidewalk to see what had hit her was the teeshirt the pretty, young cell-phone-talking girl was wearing. It said, “Eyes Off, Ears On.”
Crabby Old Lady is wondering if you think that teeshirt slogan is as funny, less funny or more funny than the one she saw recently that said, "Greetings from Abu Ghraib."