Wednesday Evening Potpourri

I'll admit that I never liked the idea of owning a cellular phone. I purchased my first in the winter of 2009, just prior to my daughter's birth, because I wanted to be on my toes if Jeanne needed me. It also became pretty evident that, once Lyla was actually with us and spending time in her old man's truck, a cell phone might be useful in case of emergencies.

But I stubbornly held onto my landline for years. I liked that I had a number and a voicemail inbox; if someone needed me, they could call it. But when I was away from the house, my time was my own. Sure, it occassionally became annoying when pay phones went the way of the Chinook Salmon (maybe those phones will make a comeback too--that would be neat) and began to disappear, but my life was no more inconvenienced, on the whole.

Unless you count the various cell-phone morons whose moronic behavior tends to encroach upon my life and, in some cases, my personal space.

Last week I went to the dentist. It was unpleasant, not as much for the service (which was appalling; I left forty-five minutes after my scheduled appointment without seeing the dentist when they told me I'd be seen in an additional thirty minutes) as for the rude woman in the waiting room talking boisterously about her weekend plans. Her daughter sat on her lap (the room was full, compounding the communal misery) and looked so embarrassed by her mom's actions. Loud phone lady almost seemed to relish the sideways glances she was attracting. I eventually went to the hallway so I could read my book in peace.

Then there's the person whose identity is tied to his or her phone. These folks spend wads of cash on new phones and accessories, and I have no problem with that, but I honestly don't care about any of it, so stop talking to me about it. Get what you can get with your money. Spend it on whatever you want to spend it on. But unless I ask, I don't want a product demo.

I don't care.

Great, it's a freaking remote control that runs the space shuttle. I don't care. Casual acquaintances talk to me about their phones. People I don't know from Adam want to tell me about them (seriously, someone at The Players had to tell me about his i-phone while we waited in line for concessions). Some of my friends can launch into long soliloquies about how great the danged phone is.

It's still just a phone, for heaven's sake!

I used to listen to the Jim Rome Show to hear sports personalities interviewed. Now I can't, because all he does is play radio grab-ass with his "crew" and talk for twenty minutes about his Blackberry. It's a shame, too, because he used to be one of the best interviewers in the sports media.

When I managed Videoland you almost couldn't hear yourself think while the witless dolts read the cover copy to the decision makers on the other end of their lines. What a sweet relationship that must be (I've sent my witless dolt of a boyfriend to bird-dog a video for me; pass me another bon bon while I cut a deeper ass groove in this couch)...

And so it eventually comes to a story like
this one, about an Oregon woman booted from the Amtrak for gabbing on her cell phone for sixteen hours on an Amtrak train. Seriously. Sixteen hours, and she said she was the victim.

This type of thing, as you can see, tends to burn my bacon.

On another note, Theodora Goss has a
really nice blog post on the difference between accepting rejection and embracing failure. I liked the sentiment here, and it just so happens that plans are in the works for a fall symposia on creative narratives at the college. We're going to work with local artists, scholars and fans to conduct a series of discussions and readings covering graphic novels and comics, films (Spaghetti westerns!), short fiction (I'll be giving a talk on identity and horror), poetry (okay, okay--probably not narrative poetry, but the name for the series is still in the works) and a few other delightful fields of creativity.

Watch this space for details as we move through the summer.

And finally, I'd like to thank Dean John Wall for shooting me a
great article on grammar and punctuation. You know, old habits die hard and all that (and I like the period/comma inside quotation marks), but punctuation and usage are kind of fluid as is. Just look at the current rules for spelling numbers if you need evidence of that. I don't think it would be the end of the world if some of these rules became a little more standard (and, in some cases, logical).

But for the time being (and if you are taking my composition courses at the college this summer!), placing periods and commas inside of quotations marks is the way to go...

P.S. If you work with me in writing workshops or read this blog, you'll also notice that I'm not a fan of the Oxford comma (it feels like a redundancy to me). So there you have it--contradictions all over the place.

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