The phone cult is calling you
Like anyone else,
I have a few convictions that I have held sacred for a good portion of my
life. One that has always been dear to my heart is that it would be a cold
day in hell before I ever bought a car phone.
I havenít been down there lately, but
the word is theyíre blaming El Nino for the frigid temperatures.
Iím still trying to understand why I
sold out and had a car phone installed a few weeks ago. I have always
despised the idea of having someone reach out and touch me in the sanctity
of my car. It was a private place where I could listen to the radio and
daydream, uninterrupted by the outside world.
Not anymore. What changed? Where did I
go wring? Who yuppified me?
Iím convinced itís a cult, and I
was slowly brainwashed into joining. To my credit, I should note most of
my friends and business associates were sucked in first. I held out, but
the pressure became too great.
The calls to my office or home would come
infrequently at first. A warbled voice with heavy static would proudly
announce that he was driving in his Dodge as we spoke. Then, just as the
conversation got interesting, the connection would be lost.
"Sorry, went though a
tunnel." He would explain upon calling back. "I have to talk
fast because I may lose you again up the road a bit."
GRRRR. "Why didnít you just call
me from your office?" I would ask.
"No time. Youíve got to get a
car phone. Theyíre lifesavers."
As the years passed and the technology
improved, the calls came more frequently. And while many times I wished
the connection would be lost, it seldom happened anymore.
A couple of years ago I felt the first
twinge of longing. Searching for a pay phone, I found myself wishing I
could just call from the car.
A hard slap across my face snapped me
out of it, but as the months passed I felt it more and more. Then I caught
myself spotting antennas on the rear windows of cars. I subconsciously
began associating phone antennas with importance and even worse, success.
Realizing that was an incredibly
shallow assumption, I tried vainly to rise above it. It was no use. Sad as
it sounds, the cult was dragging me in.
My consciousness awakened, I could come
up with dozens of incidents each week where a car phone would have been
invaluable. And my feelings at the sighting of an antenna had gone from
disgust to curiosity to jealousy.
I had been called dozens of times over
the years by the cellular companies trying to lure me into their tribe.
When they called a few weeks ago with yet another "special
promotion," my resistance was gone.
"Wonderful," said the
saleswoman, "did you want the standard car phone or our transportable
model, which you can take anywhere?"
They never rest. First my car, then
theyíre going to want to invade the rest of my life.
"Only the car phone, please,"
I added, hoping she would be satisfied.
She was, for the time being. We
scheduled an appointment for the following Monday. They are so eager to
sign you up for the cult that their mobile van will come to you to do the
I had it done in front of my house, so
the neighbors could see how important I was. Naturally, I couldnít be
there because I was too busy. Thatís why I need a car phone, obviously.
When I came home, I took a glance at my
high-tech executive automobile and was sorely disappointed. No one had
told me that because I drive a station wagon the antenna couldnít go on
the rear window, where everyone would see it.
"How will people know I have a car
phone?" I whined to my wife. "How will they know how important
and busy and successful I am if they canít see the antenna?"
She wasnít very sympathetic. And she
wasnít very impressed with my car phone.
That changed within the first week,
though. Iím now convinced that the reason for the drop in the divorce
rate in the United States is the explosive increase in the number of car
In my first week as a busy, important,
successful executive I made 12 calls on my new car phone. Nine of them
were to my wife, confirming that good communication is the key to a
So Iím hooked, and someday, so will
you. Weíll get you. You want to be important, busy and successful, donít
you? Come on. Sign up now. We want you.