August 30, 2006
Phone, My Laptop, My Freedom: Deal With It!
I’m so sick
of people who are sick of people like me. Wait. My cell phone’s ringing.
Read Dear Abby for a second.
OK. I have
just finished listening to yet another indignant human being expressing
her disgust over people who just have to bring their cell phones
and their laptops with them everywhere, and just can’t learn how
to relax, forget work and spend a little quiet time curled up with a
good book, a cup of tea and a little macramé.
Must we all
be slaves to our cell phones? Do we absolutely have to be connected to
work, business, the Internet and the various other ties that bind us at
every waking moment?
Yes! We do!
To be so connected is glorious. And far from slavery, the use of these
wonderful little devices brings many of us the ultimate freedom.
Florida, February 2006. With my Detroit Tigers jersey and hat perfectly
affixed to my body, I am in the only place where any red-blooded
American should be at this moment. Tigertown, home of spring training
for the heroes of Motown. In the entranceway to Joker Marchant Stadium –
around 10 a.m. on a Monday – my phone rings. A client has called my
office. My phone is forwarded.
“Mmm hmm. I
see. Oh yes. Why, of course, I know exactly what to do, Mr. Client. Yes,
e-mail me that file right away and I will take care of it.”
me the file. My laptop is in my car. I retrieve it and head into the
stadium. The Tigers are doing baserunning drills. Did you know that
Joker Marchant went wireless this year?
for available wireless networks. Found: Lakeland Tigers. Do you wish to
the e-mail. The file opens. Problem taken care of. And the Tigers’ minor
leaguers look like they need to learn to round third base a little more
never knew I wasn’t sitting at my desk the entire time we were talking
and exchanging e-mails. I don’t know that he would have cared. But I
cared! If you can take a week’s vacation with complete confidence that
all your work will be done for you in your absence – or that it won’t
matter if it isn’t – God bless you with sugar on top. I can’t. It’s the
nature of my business. It’s the nature of many people’s
But I don’t
want to miss out on spring training. I don’t want to miss out on fall in
the Shenandoah Valley. My cell phone and my laptop make it possible for
me to work anywhere. In a park. On a street corner. At a ballgame.
Unlike the early years of my business, when I did not take a single
vacation for four years running, I now get to go where I want and do
what I want.
But I do
have one little problem, which comes in the form of many nattering
nabobs of nagocity – all of whom object to my use of my freedom devices.
“Do you see
that man over there? Just chattering away on his cell phone?”
companion nabob shakes her head in disgust.
people just don’t know how to give it a rest. I am so sick of
people with their little cell phones and those things with those little
pens! And their laptops! Do they need to go on e-Bay every minute
of the day?”
ever been on e-Bay? You’ll have to tell me what it’s like. Ever since a
friend of mine put an imitation frozen waffle on there and got a $150
bid, I’ve been convinced the place is for tools – and not the kinds of
tools I use to give myself the freedom of movement that I guess you
can’t appreciate if it’s never been denied to you.
someone brings their cell phone into a movie theater and sits there
trading cattle futures, throw your popcorn and your fruit punch all over
him. In fact, I’ll buy you new ones. But if you can’t avoid mortal
indignation because someone is walking around the bus station taking
care of business, it’s you who needs to learn to relax. That guy might
be closing a deal to buy your employer. You better hope he works hard.
Otherwise, you’re going to have to.
© 2006 North Star
Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.
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