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diaryland: sirilyan.diaryland.com: entry for 2001-03-17 (02:29:37)
In which our plucky young hero has a call coming in, one moment.

I'm about to take a very unpopular stance, folks, so you can say that you were there at ground zero when I became a genuine, honest-to-god iconoclast. Those with sensitive dispositions may want to cover their eyes, or find something else to read.

Still with me? Brace yourself:

I think that cell phone users are not a scourge on society.

Of late, Industry Canada has decided to accept public comment on whether or not private use and licensure of cell phone jamming devices should be allowed in Canada. (These devices are illegal in the United States.) During a news report on the subject we learned that these devices are actually in use in other countries. In Israel, for example, they are installed in some public places because cell phones can be used to detonate terrorist devices, and in Chile, prisons have them installed so that contraband phones smuggled in for prisoners are useless.

Well, gosh, if terrorists and convicted criminals use the things, cell phones sure must be evil!

In Canada, of course, the reasons for installing the things aren't quite so severe. The prime instigators for them seem to be movie theaters and restaurants, libraries and churches, although there's a significant number of people who would love to have them installed every eight inches on every public highway system in the country.

Apparently, when you work for a restaurant or movie theater, your vocal cords are attacked by a very rare and specific neurological disease, one that leaves you able to say things like That'll be eight dollars or Smoking or non? or Butter on that? ... and yet, if you try to say Excuse me, could you turn off your cell phone? your throat closes up, your lungs shut off, and your heartbeat goes irregular.

I mean, that's the only explanation I can think of.

No, what is happening here is that people are seeking a technological solution to a social problem, the problem of annoying people. And let's face it: you do not need a cell phone to be annoying. I can't count the times some idiot has been talking during a movie or driving dangerously fast without paying adequate attention or screaming his stupid hyena-like laughter all over the restaurant, and all this (gasp!) without owning a cell phone.

And yet when I try to use my technological solution to the problem, by shoving a ball gag in their mouth and handcuffing them to their seat, I get charged with assault.

Yes, I like my cell phone. Yes, I like talking to my family and my closest friends and my valued coworkers more than I like listening to J. Random Dipshit explaining about his eczema in a high-pitched screechy voice. Yes, I like that I can leave my office without missing an important phone call. (Some people hear a leash being put around their neck when they have a cell phone. Me, I hear the cage around my work computer being dismantled so that I can actually get some damned sunlight. Chacun à son gout.)

And yes, if you decide that your "right" to not be annoyed (which is in what section of the Constitution again?) outweighs my right to freedom of speech and association (sections 2b and 2d of the Charter, or the First Amendment), you can go to hell.

Hopefully, when you get there, someone with no cell phone will be stuck next to you for all eternity. Talking over the movie.

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