You know, I try not to listen in on telephone conversations unless I'm in a switch center and the techs are placing bets. Will she? Won't she? Does this guy have a clue that he's tossing off some astoundingly low-grade bullshit? Ah, the early days of telco. I should have recorded some of it, and I think I probably did.

The thing is, I can't avoid hearing the front half of quite a few cellphone calls since most of these self-important Poohbahs TALK SO LOUD after their Bling Ring shatters the silence: "HELLO? YEAH, I'M IN THE RESTAURANT. SEE YOU IN TEN -- WOOF WOOF WOOF!"

There's an increasing number of people that won't turn their phones off in public since they need to stay in touch in case: the kids start a fire, the reactor runs away, the President can't remember how to spell Tuesday or fighters are screaming over the border at Mach 2. Whatever it is, they'll be informed about it in time to do, well, Nothing, usually. There's no reason to be wired 24/7, it's just the desire to talk with someone you know, park your mind in neutral and chat around the water cooler at 900 MHz.

Having now unwillingly listened to a quite few cellphone calls, I've also discovered something shocking but not surprising, which is a rarity in itself, viz:

People have nothing to say.

I've heard the same conversations played out over and over again and noticed there's not many of them. Unlike the number of possible chess games that numbers in the low gazillions, there's actually only ten things you can say on a cellphone:

1. One of us is running late, and we need to discuss it at length
2. One of us isn't running late, and I'm chuffed to bits to share it
3. Let's trash someone who's not here
4. Let's talk about something we can't control but can bitch about
5. Send lawyers, guns and money and get me out of this
6. Hook a brother up
7. Please do / pick up the following list of things ...
8. Bye bye, goodbye, I tried
9. Let's talk business in painful detail
10. I love you and want to be near you

Only one of these is generally worth picking up the phone and irradiating your skull to communicate, and I submit that although you can communicate that message much better in person, sometimes you just have to call.

Copyright 2007 Greg Richter / IFR Music