In the old days, when "mobile" phones were the size of Tom Clancy hardbacks and calls cost $.73/minute, I took important calls in my bedroom, with the radio turned up and my parents occupied - my full attention given to the very private reflections I shared with the caller.
Last night I took an important call at a vending machine. Then I got on the bus to ride home from school. The bus where 30% of the seats in the back were littered with brown, commercial grade paper towels in a vain attempt to cover what, as far as I could tell, appeared to be vomit. Yes, I'm listening. . . Do tell me more about this significant life event, loved one.
A few stops and a few reflections later a clearly transient and likely homeless person sits down next to me. I have no big problem with homeless people. Sure, it would be excellent if they smelled better, but sometimes I smell bad and I have both a home and a shower, so I understand that it's hard. My discomfort does increase, however, when this man begins violently thrashing his arms about. Please tell me more, how did this make you feel, you important caller to whom I'm giving my undivided attention?
I know, I know. I could've waited until I got home to take this call. I could've called the person back. I recently read an essay by Jonathan Franzen about how we're losing the "public," by bringing our formerly private conversations about couscous v. risotto, chemotherapy v. radiation, and sex on the 3rd or 5th date into the streets, waiting rooms, and grocery stores of America. I agree - mostly. Only it seems like this phenomenon is a runaway train. And besides, the person was calling from a shopping mall food court.
Should you find yourself needing a new band to crush on, might I recommend The 88
. I've seen them a couple of times this fall and finally bought their album - every time I listen
to it on repeat I'm filled with whimsy, delight, and general good spirits.