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When Tara Met Blog
Monday, November 28, 2005
Cell phone dependency
While walking the streets (in the non-prostitution sense) I Can't help but notice how many people are talking on their cell phones as they hurry past. I'm not one of those technology haters who believe in boycotting cell phones, since I doubt I would survive without mine. I left mine at work the other day and I felt practically naked without a phone, especially since I don't have a land line in my apartment. Anyway, not the point, I digress.

It just seems that there are more and more people talking and walking. Besides noticing the incredible talent this takes on busy streets, it's made me wonder if people are really talking into their mobile phones for conversational purposes or if they are only clasping the metal pieces for protection purposes. In a city where eye contact is minimal, I can't help but wonder if cell phones have become to mad sidewalk dashers what earphones are to subway riders and books are to table-for-ones.

Do we chat because it is the only time we can talk to someone, or are people scared to walk alone? Maybe cell phones are like cigarettes for the non-smokers, something to hold onto in a crowd.

I know when I am standing awkwardly outside of a restaurant, waiting for a friend to arrive, I'll whip mine out in public and dial away ;). Even when I have nothing really important to say, I just don't want to stand there with nothing to do. I especially noticed that I call more when I'm feeling uncomfortable or well, bored.

I know it's the bored factor in my mother's case, since she calls me whenever she is alone and has a cell phone nearby. In the car, leaving work, she will call me or another friend just because she cannot stand not talking for those five minutes. I tease her by saying that I am not her "phone whore."

Now that I am more conscious of the possible psychological reasons behind my cell phone dialing, each time I grab for my flip phone in public, I have to ask myself, do you really want to talk or are you wimping out and using it as a social crutch?

Fusion TechForum takes my cell phone usuage idea a step further.

PS: I have a new weekly blog renter: Thoughts Outside My Head, by a thirty-something from the Midwest whose writing her own novel. Be sure and click on the screen capture of her blog, it's on my left side column.

Posted by Tara at 9:01 PM PST
Updated: Wednesday, November 30, 2005 6:27 AM PST

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 - 9:43 AM PST

Name: Steve

For a true social crutch, you have to get one of these new smart phones that allow you to surf the web, read and reply to email along with text messaging.

I use the Sidekick II from T-mobile. It features a flip up screen that gives your thumbs access to a full keyboard. It amazes me how fast I can type on it.

When I am bored and waiting somewhere, it helps.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 - 12:23 PM PST

Name: Master Foley
Home Page:

I have to agree with you.

I hate having a cell phone but don't think I could live without it now. I guess where I'm on the phone all day I don't ever really want to talk on the phone much anyway.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 - 2:09 PM PST

Name: JTisch

comfort; distraction; the need to appear busy at all times-- i think you nailed it. (why ny'ers abuse their cell phones, that is). what really distracts me are the invisible phones, where you just see people talking
into thin air.

as far as "appearing" busy, could it be that new yorkers are as insecure, as self-conscious, as people everywhere else? even more so? and what does it say for the five of us who don't own cell phones? hmmm. i really think
we're onto something...

over to you,

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 - 2:11 PM PST

Name: Tara

Yeah, I've never been much of a phone talker either MF, but like I said when I'm desperate I'll dial for the sake of it.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005 - 12:04 PM PST

Name: Clementine

hey Tara, not sure you remember me but I was in your reporting Wkshop last fall (french girl). I accidentally found your bog when looking for info on the GAs/TAs strike at NYU! I really like it and I like reading your comments about NY, esp. since I don't live there anymore. take care! xx

Wednesday, November 30, 2005 - 5:42 PM PST

Name: H. (aka NC_State_gal)
Home Page:

I'll have to admit, I have a HUGE dependency upon my cell phone. I lost 2 cell phones back to back and I felt psychologically bereft of any of my friend and familial ties. Not to mention the fact that I programmed that sucker with all my work CONTACTS!!! UUUGH...I almost had an emotional meltdown when I had to re-enter all those numbers into a new phone..TWICE.

I think that we overuse our mobiles. It can give us the feeling of importance, "Look at me! I am very important talking on my mobile". It can fill time and provide entertainment during dull moments, like waiting in line and eating alone at a restaurant. It can also allow us to weasel out of actually interacting with other humans face to face (My crazy ex broke up with me via mobile phone).

Wednesday, November 30, 2005 - 7:33 PM PST

Name: Tara

Grr I've lost my cell phone twice before too and I know it's not cool re-entering contacts and paying the big bucks for a new phone.

I was actually going to write that I think some people talk on their cells in public because they think it makes them important, you can so tell by the ones that will speak really loudly and say stupid things like "No way, reall?" and stuff like that.

That really sucks about the ex.

Thursday, December 1, 2005 - 12:35 AM PST

Name: Mona
Home Page:

I don't drive much but today, the two slowest cars who were lost were on cell phones, ugh! I at least ask my caller if I can call them back when I'm parked.

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