“We’re stuck on the tarmac. Pilot says we won’t leave for 20 minutes. I may not get home tonight.” “I may miss my connection.” “We just landed. I’m waiting to get off the plane.”
That’s just a tiny sampling of what I have had to hear in stereo or slightly staggered time during my many flights of the last two months. It’s incredibly annoying to listen to—over and over and over again—the very words a stewardess has just broadcasted for the passengers’ information. (Need I stress the word “passengers”?) Because of cell phones, the messages just keep getting broadcast, to spouses at work, to parents at home, to kids watching TV….
Cell phones allow people to talk too much. They tell each other the most inane bits of info. Usually it’s not concrete info like, “I definitely won’t make it home tonight.” It’s in-progress info. It’s fleeting. It requires (sigh) another call when the pilot updates the status a mere three minutes later. And it’s excruciating to listen to when you’re someone like me – someone who can’t fathom why you’d want to tell anyone something so indefinite. I’m also someone who embraces the concept of acoustic personal space. I wouldn’t want them to have to listen to my one-sided conversation. So why must I endure all of the ones going on around me?
I can’t help and wonder why people feel compelled to even bother dialing. Are they bored? Has the anonymity of a flight made them crave human connection so badly that they must share some information, even if it’s trivial? Do they feel so important that they must narrate every freaking aspect of their lives? I wonder. Or maybe they are nervous fliers and dialing is just a subsequent twitch.
That same twitch makes people turn their phones back on immediately after landing. Ah, the lovely cacophony of chirps, beeps, whistles, and songs. What did these people do a mere seven years ago when—the horror—cell phones weren’t so readily available?
In my world, there’s a thing called noise pollution and lately cell-phone pollution has corroded my airwaves. I say mobiles get checked with baggage.
I yearn for Japan where the considerate Japanese quietly SMS.