Thursday, September 14, 2006

Enemy of the Book State: Blue Tooth Technology


Look at this guy—clean, well groomed, dressed appropriately for the weather. I’d be flattered and interested if he gave me his number. He’s probably walking home from work or school, just doing his own thing, completely unaware that he has been taken over by THE BORG. I mean look at that thing growing at his ear. He’s just steps away from this:

And why? Because he let Blue Tooth technology leach into his brain. The poor guy probably has no idea that he’s just steps away from being technology’s bitch, his every thought and action controlled by electronic impulses sent by his phone.

Or maybe he does. Maybe he already is, has been since he gave into the siren’s lure of hands free calling and possible reception anywhere there is a tower. He might have figured this was a good sacrifice to make to further his availability and mobility during business hours or to keep in touch with a demanding girlfriend or boyfriend. The epiphany of being able to talk on the phone and use the bathroom might have overcome any resistance to the idea of placing electronics so close to his brain.

Or it could just be that resistance, as we’ve been taught, is futile.

This is not, however, the reason that Blue Tooth Technology (in this specific hands free format) is the enemy of the Book State. Oh no. Blue Tooth’s Book State transgressions are far greater than merely turning someone into a robot/human hybrid. You see, Blue Tooth, once rendered invisible by sight lines, blurs the distinction between crazy and normal. It used to be that a bookseller could easily identify someone who might have forgotten to take important medication or suffering from multiple personality disorder, but with Blue Tooth on the scene one cannot tell if the person is having a conversation with themselves, or someone on the other end of an invisible phone line. In the past, once this formerly erratic behavior was observed the bookseller could then take extra caution or at least have an answer to give other customers if they came up and complained about the person talking to themselves, but now we are left wondering. Are they on the phone? Are the talking with aliens on the rock formerly known as the planet Pluto?

Maybe we should go ask Mr. Owl, ‘cause I don’t have a clue.

Further adding to this problem is that many don’t seem to realize that having an intimate conversation in the middle of a bookstore means people are going to hear you, just like they are going to hear you if you’re taking a business call in the magazine section. Why? BECAUSE YOU ARE TALKING REALLY, REALLY LOUD.

Get to a frickin’ land line if the reception is that bad. Hell, get to a land line anyway because as much as I would rather listen to what stocks are a sure bet than how much you love to call your girl baby, I would much rather not have to deal with either of these things at all.

You are in a bookstore. A place with books. Books that are not meant to be read aloud unless you are into that thing and most of the people here aren’t. It is rude! It is rude when you continue to talk as you try to buy your magazine from me. It’s rude that you disrupt other people’s zen time on their lunch break.

And I’m pretty sure that thing is boring a hole in your brain.

Resistance may be futile, but let’s give it a try anyway.

25 comments:

Robin Brande said...

Hilarious! And so right. I'm giving you a high five right now.

Tere said...

I so hate those blue tooths (teeth?). For all the reasons stated.

And because they look ridiculous.

Trish Ryan said...

But let's be honest - the REAL reason blue tooth is so huge is that deep down, we all want to be like Janet Jackson back in the day, shaking her booty and singing "I'm in control!" with her miraculous wireless mike.

I'd get one just for that :)

lady t said...

Thank you for bringing this up-even when walking down the street,it's hard to spot the potential mental patients from the Borg Cell Phone Drones!

Also,it's rude to be on the phone while you're paying for books-the cashier has to be able to communicate with you and most of us were taught as children that it's bad manners to interrupt someone on the phone.

I remember one time a woman wanted help with selecting a cookbook and she was on her cell,ordering dinner at the same time. I felt sorry for the restaurant,she kept yelling things at them like"NO,I want STEAMED broccoli,STEAMED BROCCOLI!" Hope she gave the delivery guy a good tip:)

Amie Stuart said...

Cell Phones are the devil and Blue Tooth is their Frankensteinian bride.

Christine Fletcher said...

At my work, if a client comes up to the reception counter talking on a phone, the receptionist will smile and ask them to come back when they're finished with their call. And then the receptionist moves on to the next client. If cell-phone person gets irate, too bad. We've had too many screw-ups and miscommunications because someone thinks they can sign their pet in for surgery while yakking about the movie they saw last night.

quiche said...

You rule, Bookseller Chick! Cell phones and the people who are attached to them are irritating at best, incredibly rude at worst. I had a customer ask if we could put up a no cellphone sign at the front door or at least designate a cell use area. I took her suggestion to my boss who said 'eh.' I've overheard mostly dull conversations, no stock tips, no gossip (about anyone I know), no phone sex (grateful for that one)or anything that couldn't wait another 10 minutes.

Robin Brande said...

I was lucky enough to snag an incredibly cheap first-class upgrade on a flight last week, and I was so looking forward to actually sleeping on a plane for once. Then some hotshot (in her own mind) sat next to me and gabbed for about twenty minutes, trying to seem very important to everyone around her.

The pilot announced it was time to turn off all cell phones. The woman kept yapping. The flight attendant came over and asked her once. Nothing. A few minutes later the flight attendant said very pointedly, "WE ARE PULLING AWAY FROM THE GATE. PUT THE PHONE AWAY."

I mouthed a "thank you," to the flight attendant, who gave the woman the total Stink Eye, but woman just did not care. She was far too important for any of us.

I think I would have enjoyed it more back in coach with the crying babies. Grrrrr . . .

Michelle K said...

Hear! Hear!

(I can't believe that I initally wrote "here here." Maybe I can blame the brain rot on the fact that I was talking on my cell phone yesterday.)

Beth said...

I hate cell phones. BUT if my fellow planet-sharers must succumb to the allure, I'd rather they have the earpiece. Why? Because ever since my city passed a law that you cannot drive with cell phone in hand, my commute has become very very very very very noticeably less agonizing.

But you beat me to it, BSC - I was gonna rant about this woman in the library - THE LIBRARY!!! - yesterday, who took a call on her cell in the reference room. She did that shouting whisper thing ("I CAN'T TALK TOO LOUD I'M IN THE LIBRARY. I SAID I'M IN THE LIBRAREEEEEEEE") which was actually quieter - if one can use any derivative of the word "quiet" to apply to her voice - than her cell phone. The volume on it was a case of This One Goes To Eleven, and from at least 100 feet away, I was treated to the tinny voice of her husband explaining exactly what was happening at the car dealership.

Murder's too good for em. But I'd settle for it anyhow.

Simon Haynes said...

I'm with the rest of you. I hate cell phones and I cannot believe the people I overhear really need to be wasting their money on the things they're talking about.
What really has me angry is the thought that commercial flights may soon allow cell phones throughout the trip. It's 20+ hours from Australia to the UK - and can you imagine all the ringtones going off every five minutes? I do have a plan though - a suppression device disguised as a cell phone. Blocks anyone within five rows.
My cell is for emergency use only. And I prefer silence.

nir said...

Oh, this is hilarious! I do think those Blue Tooth things are creepy.

piksea said...

Hee! Great post. I find myself staring in wonder and disgust at all these people with their blue tooth headsets clinging to their heads.

There was a Zits cartoon where the main character and a friend were in the mall playing a game. They had to call whether the person they saw walking toward them, alone, talking had a wireless headset or was off their meds. I do not believe the two are mutually exclusive.

Marta said...

BSC, you are such a heartless girl. All you are thinking about is how annoying people are when they are saying stupid things very loudly on cell phones and BlueTeeth (brushing and flossing would have helped).

What about the patently insane? Talking to one's self has been a time-honored symptom of insanity worldwide. This is why we dislike those talking on phones: because we find insane people disturbing.

How to remedy this? Give all of the insane fake cell phones and BlueTeeth! Thus they can walk along and only be viewed as annoying jerks, and not the mentally deranged.

Marcail said...

Right on. Do I dare say a pox upon them or at least a bad case of tinnitis.

margaret said...

One time I was in a bookstore and there was a guy wearing one of these. As he was leafing through some books, he said loudly: "Traffic's terrible right now. I don't know when I'll be back. Don't wait."

He turned bright red upon suddenly realizing how many people had heard him. I wonder what he was trying to get out of...

Kendall said...

Re. the talking too loud thing, it's generally not reception. I've noticed that most people (including me sometimes) seem to think that if the person on the other end isn't coming in loud and clear, then they aren't either. Duh! I've tested this by talking in a normal voice on the cell and...wow, the person on the other end can hear me. Unfortunately, (a) I frequently forget this, and (b) I find it difficult to convince others to talk in a normal or even quiet tone....

(N.B.: I'm not saying that bad reception doesn't exist or that sometimes one has to speak up to be heard; I'm just saying, always talking loud on the cell phone isn't necessary, but no one seems to realize that.)

Love the Bluetooth = Borg stuff! ;-)

Kate R said...

our local bookstore has a big sign on it that says USE YOUR CELL PHONE OUTSIDE.

Little Willow said...

Many cheers and much applause.

Common courtesy and common sense are endangered ettiquette in today's society. It's a shame.

Anonymous said...

There is no etiquette regarding cellphones developed as yet that is commonly accepted.
Simple good manners is a stretch for the morons who impose their private conversations on the world.
Robin hit it on the head when she remarked on the sense of self-importance. They are special, their needs surpass everyone else's, and it you don't like it, too bad.
I have heard way, way more information about people's medical conditions, sex lives, plans for the evening, etc.
My phone stays on buzz. If it's not one of my kids, it can wait.

Anonymous said...

Two things might happen.

1. All these chronic phone users will develop hearing loss.

2. From having that hot little thing on their ear around delicate tissue, they'll develop a tumor.

Lyn Cash said...

omg - ROFL - tooo funny (and on target). Also enjoyed the previous post - now I have to get one of those banned book bracelets...and the Shors book.

raine said...

Thank you, thank you, and thank you.

Bangkok Tricia said...

I am currently living in Thailand where cell phones are very common as are hands free contraptions, but Thais generally speak very quietly on their phones, however the faragns(foreigners) don't. Listening to a loud mouthed English speaker on the sky train when all is quite is very boring!!!My soloution in book stores or on planes is to read aloud from a book preferably as close as possible to the cell phone user, i wonder what would happen?

Jana J. Hanson said...

I've seen at least 3 of these in the last day. People who order at Arby's are wearing them!

I use my cell phone (LOVE my cell phone) but never when I'm in line for anything. Unless it's an emergency.

If my phone rings, I usually get out of line to finish the call.

Common courtesy is turning into a thing of the past.