We have become so attached to mobile communication devices that you could almost swear they grow from our heads. It would require surgery to detach some of us from them. Losing a cell phone is like losing an ear, and it causes almost as much panic.
The only barrier between you and whoever you are trying to get hold of is the availability of a signal. This results in some interesting commutes, if you are unlucky enough to be sitting near a person who cannot postpone a highly personal conversation long enough to get to a more private place, like home.
The subway train that I take to work every morning runs above ground on elevated tracks for the first several stops. One morning, my commuting experience was enhanced by a woman who had a pressing need to hold a loud long-distance fight with her boyfriend. She was a fat, skanky-looking, fortyish woman with shoulder-length dirty blonde hair that looked like it was afraid to be touched by a comb. She was wearing a denim jacket over a skimpy red tank top and a pair of very tight jeans that showcased her overflowing middle. A trim elderly woman in a blue polyester pantsuit was sitting next to her, trying to read from a Bible. The woman on the phone was paying no mind to her fellow travelers, who were hearing every word she was braying all over the train.
“It’s me, you motherfucker!” said the cell phone woman, who could be clearly heard over the chugging and clanging noises of the train. The woman with the Bible looked up briefly and visibly flinched.
“I meant it,” the fat woman said. “I want you out of my house now. I’ve had it with your shit! (pause) Who you callin’ a bitch, you cocksucker! (pause) Because you hit on my grandmother, you fuckin’ pervert! (pause) What do you mean, she hit on you? She’s eighty years old, for fuck’s sake! (pause) Ohhhh! Hold on! What are you saying, she’s hotter than I am! You’ve been damned satisfied these last three months with me!”
I was finally released from my role as an unwilling eavesdropper when the train went underground and she lost her signal. By that time I knew more about her life than I knew about some of my friends.
“Shit!” the woman said as her phone went dead. She shoved it back into her purse, folded her arms and sat back against the train window.
The Bible-reading woman got off at the next stop. As she did so, she turned to the woman, handed her the Bible and said, “Take this, Dear. You need it more than I do.”
I would love to tell you more, but my cell phone is ringing.