I'm Not Here, Leave a Message

I just got back from a weekend in New York. On the bus there, a young woman played with her iPhone incessantly. She listened to music. She watched movies. She wrote emails. She sent instant messages. And she took phone calls. All the while, she kept flipping the thing around. Halfway through the trip, somewhere near the Chesapeake House Service Area, she called her boyfriend. "Honey, I just have to get you one of these." If he is half as voluble as she, I hope she forgets to buy him the gift.

Last week, The Metropolitan Transit Authority announced that Transit Wireless will pay $46.8 million, over 10 years, to wire subway stations across the five boroughs. The New York Post, reported that the small company out-bid several telecommunications titans, including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon. Soon enough, New York will be more like Washington, where every other commuter has a Razr or BlackBerry. Is this really cause for "cell-ebration," as the Post put it? Do we need more noise on the 1? More chatter on the Broadway Express? I, for one, don't want to hear Manhattan straphangers hash over business deals with their partners, or dinner plans with their husbands, telephonically. Leave me some semblance of solitude. Or quietude, at least.

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Cell phone abuse is the reason I carry earplugs with me everywhere. These days I rarely use them because I usually have my toddler with me. I'm biased, but I think my daughter, who is 21 months, has better manners and better self-control than a lot of the adults we meet.

You can, of course, ask people to quiet down, but it rarely does any good; usually they look at you as if you're the one being rude, and they'll often cuss and/or yell.

Sent by janet | 12:51 PM | 10-2-2007

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