The Suitcase Lady


April 17, 2012, 8:36 pm

Garrison Keillor astutely said that there is essentially only one cell phone conversation: “I’m here now, and I’ll be there then!”

It doesn’t take a lot of eavesdropping to know he’s right on target. For that matter, you don’t even have to eavesdrop. We are all constantly barraged with other people’s cellular conversations. Or, more correctly, half of their conversations. We have become a nation of inadvertent voyeurs.

Garrison could add a corollary to “I’m here now, and I’ll be there then”……””I’m here now, and what do you want me to buy?’ I frequently hear that scenario acted out in grocery aisles by perplexed shoppers phoning their spouses for advice on dinner selection.

I try to use my cellphone sparingly and with a minute’s reflection. For instance, do I really need to tell my husband that I’m leaving the grocery store and will be home in 20 minutes? My guy will know I’m home when my car pulls into the garage. When did we start reporting our lives instead of living them? We are like uber tourists who photograph everything and see nothing.

I recently came across a  truckload of brand new end of season shoes that had been donated to Goodwill. A lady was standing in the shoe aisle rapidly phoning every friend she knew. “Quickly, what are all the shoe sizes in your family?”, she would ask. This amazing woman could note sizes and simultaneously load her shopping cart with a mountain of footwear.

I found that to be one of the truly rare, inspired uses of a cell phone. And she didn’t even say, “I’m at Goodwill now and I’ll be home in an hour.”

Bells Are Ringing

"Bells Are Ringing"

2 Comments for this entry

  • LoieJ

    How right on. I love my Windows phone, but phoning is the least of its uses and I hardly know what the ring sounds like. It is too bad that people don’t realize that they really don’t need to talk louder on a phone. There IS NO FEEDBACK, which is why they seem to shout. I’ve overheard people talking to others about things that should have been said in the confines of a marriage counseling session.

    My son has even called me from a store to ask me where to find something when in a store I’ve never even been to. Ask a clerk, for heaven’s sake. But OK, I guess it just reinforces the fact that he thinks I’m wise and omnipotent.

  • evie

    Mary–I remember hearing GK say that. “Right on,”
    I thought to myself. And when I’m in a public restroom and I hear the woman on the line when she’s doing you-know-what, I always flush my toilet. To annoy her, and to let the listener know where this person’s calling from . . . pretty diabolical, I know.