Is it me, or are we in the Western World, becoming the New Narcissists? I'm not referring to some 80s pop movement here, and by 'we' I mean me, and all the me's who see our smartphones as our BFF's and think nothing of bringing our tawdry private lives into public places. Every day I see people deep in conversation and self-absorption stop mid-crosswalk to make a point, holding up the queue in Wholefoods in order to finish up that vital conversation about 'rolfing', or driving one-handed two inches from my rear fender doing a killer version of Munch's The Scream. I might just have to start a 'no phone zones' campaign. I mean we've successfully ostracised smokers, and in their defence they're so busy trying not to get hypothermia in addition to lung cancer, standing outside those office blocks in winter, they haven't the puff to shout, or even speak for that matter. My husband has a slightly mad-genius fantasy of creating an instant phone booth, like the ones we used to have, (you probably thought they were urinals), but now in an aerosol can and easy to spray over anyone who's hitting that noise pollution point. Just one long spurt and voila! (If anyone at Cal Tech reads this, please call me). Whenever we're out together and we hear the dulcet tones of that special someone who's forgotten or just doesn't care that WE'RE HERE TOO, he'll say "instant phone booth", and like the ex-smoker I am, I roll my eyes smugly. I'm sooo superior. Not really, and I don't blame people for being like this, I mean everyone shouts into cell phones like they're Ethel Merman puncturing ear drums in the back row. We're so used to sharing dirty laundry with anyone unlucky enough to be in earshot, we can't remember what 'boundaries' or 'shared spaces' are. And that's even when a phone isn't glued to our ears. Take the woman in Starbucks yesterday, talking to her daughter at such a fever pitch, every dog in a 10 mile radius must have been going nuts. She occupied a small space that made it impossible to get in or out of the door. When I dared to utter the words "excuse me please", I swear she looked at me as if I'd just broken into her house and walked dog shit into her shag pile. And we've been encouraged to be this way, to share everything shame-free, like they do on bad reality TV and social networking, like I'm doing here. Everyone's special, nothing's personal (I tweeted my bum the other day, just like Kim). So I'm turning the ringer off, looking people in the eye at the check out, telling 'broadcasters' to keep it down or go outside, and when the sweats/shaking start I'll self-calm...secure in the knowledge that my BFF is having a little nap in my bag and that, maybe I'll get that call from Cal Tech. I mean, if they can put a man on the moon...
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