Grocery Theater

January 10th, 2011 by Harrumpher Leave a reply »

megaphone“You better be f***ing gone when I get home, b**ch!”

Such was the very public message screamed into her cellphone by the young woman standing in the produce aisle between the displays of bananas and pinkish tomato-like objects. In her mid-20s, she carried her infant daughter in a thick, pink sweater suit. The tot in one arm had all the protection of the body and none from the hate inches from her wee head.

The woman continued to hold forth at extreme volume. She seemed to address another woman and added, “Pack your sh*t and get out now!”

I wondered as perhaps the other dozen fruit and veggy shoppers must have what inspired the tirade and its timing. How is it that the shouter discovered something while in the supermarket that primed her explosion? Did she simply call her home and hear a rival or disfavored sister’s voice? Did someone call her as she entered the store and dish some serious dirt?

Regardless, this was just one of the many cellphone thespians visiting their petty personal problems or prides upon the disinterested world of you and me. One underlying theme accompanies all those fools who career into people and objects in the streets, stores and hallways of America with cellphone or headset in use, fairly bellowing and blathering. The delusion to some may be cartoonish — that cellphones radiate some magical cone of silence and invisibility. Otherwise, we have to assume that these folk believe that their pathetic little dramas or observations are aural gifts to the rest of us.

Practically, I think of what surely must be billions of dollars spent on cellphone fees, either minutes or flat monthly, to enable such intrusive triviality. There are so many charities, churches, civic groups and more who could put those funds to meaningful application. Otherwise the babblers and boasters would be better off spending the money in ways that would ease or improve their lives or those of their families.

cell.jpgInstead, they are wont to tell their cell counterparts (and those of us within 50 or more feet) what they had to eat or are about to or some such silliness. They do display that nothing worthwhile is going on in their lives or their brains. Their tiny, trivial skits are desperate indeed.

Over a decade ago, I started seeing this regularly. I worked next to the Burlington Mall. Whenever I was there, indolent teens and adults lived the great lie of Microsoft — that we humans are intrinsically multitaskers. The shoppers and food-court gawkers could not walk and talk. They’d bump into each other, their ignored chums, or even store doors. They were jokes without self-awareness of being such.

Remarking nonstop on the unremarkable is the real task of the self-absorbed.

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