Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Schizophrenic? Or just on the cell phone?

Back when I was growing up on the streets of New York City, if you saw a person speaking animatedly all by his lone self on the sidewalk you carefully walked around, leaving ample room between, preferably via the other side of the street. The deranged were out there.

Today, of course, when you see someone talking all alone on the street the person's probably just on a hands-free cell phone with the microphone dangling or on a lapel or some such.

Earlier this evening when I stepped out of the building where I live onto the street there were eight -- I counted, eight -- bobbing heads all talking on cell phones in all the directions around me, to my left, my right, and crossing the street coming right at me. It was like I'd stepped into a hive ... or an advertisement, or some other strange thing. Everybody I could see was on a cell phone. I thought.

The thing is, the deranged are still out there. It might have been only seven people on cell phones, with the eighth headed right for me ... and how would I have known?

Progress always brings its own new dangers.

Think about it the next time you walk by a person who's using a hands-free cell phone, you think.