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Manners gone in thin 'ear'

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  • Manners gone in thin 'ear'

    Content-typ e: message/rfc822

    From: Patrick Azadian <[email protected]>
    Subject: Manners gone in thin 'ear'

    Manners gone in thin 'ear'

    August 7, 2004

    I am not getting used to these ear sets for cellular phones.

    Don't get me wrong; I am not on an anti-consumerism crusade. I am an
    advocate of the culture of "buy without knowing why." As a matter of
    fact, any day now my mom will be calling a family intervention meeting
    for my spending habits. Yet, the sights and sounds of grown men laughing
    out loud without anyone in sight is still disturbing.

    This, of course, does not mean that the ear gadgets don't have their

    Ear sets can make us better drivers. Just the other day, I escaped being
    run over by one of those colossal SUVs, which consume more energy than a
    Third World country. I was legally crossing Brand Boulevard when a
    gentleman was making a left turn. He had his hands on the wheel, but his
    cellphone was pressed against his ear with his shoulder. After a nimble
    escape from the moving glob of shiny sheet metal extracted violently
    from Mother Earth, I gave him an unfriendly look. He responded by waving
    his hand, accompanied with a mindless smile. "Heh, heh ... Sorry!" No
    problem, thanks for allowing me to live. Ear sets can save lives.

    As a second feature, it is now possible to be inconsiderate to more than
    one friend at a time.

    I was walking down the Marketplace, as I spotted a lady with a low-carb
    open burrito; she was sitting with a friend. The beautiful tunes of
    Puerto Rican salsa by Willie Colón were being broadcast from the Mexican
    food chain. I still have not understood the connection between serving
    pseudo-Mexi- can food and Puerto Rican salsa music. My best guess is
    that since the music from our Caribbean colony is called "salsa" and
    there is a Mexican food item with the same name, then it makes sense to
    broadcast "salsa" (the music) at the restaurant.

    Back to our beloved lady on the Atkins diet. As she began munching on
    her "open" burrito, something other than her lunch got her attention.
    From the expression on her face, I knew she had gotten a phone call
    through her invisible ear set. She continued chewing, looked at her
    friend across the table, raised her index finger at him, squinted her
    eyes, and in a gesture suggesting "give me a minute," pressed her
    remaining index finger on her ear. She began talking, and continued
    chewing. I empathized with both of her friends. The friend on the other
    end of the phone must have had to decipher between the burrito being
    chewed, the chatter of the crowd, as well as Willie Colón, to understand
    the message from the friend. The friend at the table must have been
    wondering why he was there in the first place. Regular cellphones do not
    have the ability to spread inconsideration so broadly.

    The third advantage of the gadget is that one can now look way more
    important than they actually are. On another occasion, I spotted a well-
    groomed young man talking to himself. I realized the ear sets were in
    use as soon as he raised his finger and placed it on his ear. His dapper
    manner and his serious demeanor suggested that he was in the middle of a
    serious business transaction. He would shake his head constantly and
    would give out what seemed to be important instructions. Perhaps he was
    in the process of buying stocks, acquiring mega real estate, or leasing
    a luxury car.

    I finished my coffee and passed by him in an unsuspecting manner. He was
    speaking in Armenian: "Ha mom, yes es geesher doors em ertaloo yev
    makoor varteek choonem. Karogh es et karmeer Calvin Kleinuh luvanas?"
    ("Yeah mom, I am going out tonight and I have no clean underwear. Could
    you wash the red Calvin Klein one for me?")

    He continued: "Meh haat el tei deer. Nor, nor, looleh kabob em kereh yev
    laav chem marseh." ("Make me some tea too; I just ate some ground beef
    kabob and I still have not digested it.") I can only imagine what his
    mother had to say: "Vaay koranam, yes kez meeteh chem aseh doorsuh
    mekenayadz mees choodes?" ("I rather go blind than see you undigested.
    Haven't I told you not to eat ground beef at a restaurant?")

    Last, but not least, anyone can now look like a fool. I was standing in
    a long line at the bank sending out my usual brain signals to end up at
    the beautiful teller named "Valentina," when the middle-aged man behind
    me burst into loud laughter.


    I knew he could not have been reading my thoughts. And, no one else was
    talking to him. His long, bushy hair had covered the ear gadgets he was
    employing. Immediately, I had a revelation. If you have the habit of
    striking up a conversation with yourself in public, just because it is
    sometimes the most intelligent dialogue you will find, you can now look
    relatively normal. All you have to do is place your index finger in your
    ear and press it every once in awhile. Never before has the gap between
    normal and deviant been so small.

    . PATRICK AZADIAN lives and works in Glendale. He is an identity and
    branding consultant for the retail industry. Reach him at
    [email protected].