Well, it happened. I am now the reluctant and mostly unwilling owner of a portable, Orwellian telescreen, or, as most people call it, a smartphone. In view of the 10th anniversary of the iPhone, and for cathartic ends, I will now engage in the jeremiad that I have effectively deferred for the last few years. Caveat lector: if imprecation and lament are not your thing, do not read any further.
There have been a few memorable moments over the years that have irreversibly affected my opinion of cellphones. In 1993, when I was 16 years old, I worked part time at the A&W inside Town East Mall in Mesquite, Texas. One slow, quiet weeknight just before closing, I vividly remember the sound of loud talking approaching, but it was unusual, for all I heard was one voice. Sure enough, when the woman turned the corner and became visible to me, I could see her speaking into a (probably rather large) mobile phone. I don’t know if she was always a loud talker, or if she was just wanting to be seen.
Back then, having a cellphone at all was a bit of a status symbol, mostly for business people or those with disposable income. But I remember thinking at that very moment how obnoxious it was for someone to walk around like that and inflict their conversation on the whole Food Court. I had never seen that before, and I hoped to never have to see it again. (Insert chuckle.)