Bluetooth-enabled cell phones empower users to walk around and carry on their conversations hand-free, which is a great thing. What isn’t so great though and, to me, is a bit unsettling are the growing hordes of people walking the streets, hallways and public facilities of our world seemingly talking to themselves.
I was in the men’s room of the Continental Airlines presidents club this morning washing my hands and minding my own business when a guy strolled up behind me and asked, "how’s the pricing?"
I stopped and looked in the mirror. He then asked, "Well, are they going up or down?" He was staring straight at me in the mirror. Until I noticed the Bluetooth earpiece and the attached microscopic mouthpiece dangling down, I actually thought he was addressing me.
I don’t like these Bluetooth boors. They strut around with their chests puffed out, chopping at the air to punctuate a point, totally oblivious to everyone else around them.
This has to be an ego trip thing. Why else would you want people to think you were a slightly deranged, recently discharged patient from some upstate psychiatric hospital? To me, hands-free headsets are just one more bizarre cog in the machinery of an increasingly crazy, out-of-control world. While I love my blackberry and depend on my cell phone, I’m suffering from the Bluetooth blues right now. In my opinion, this is one technology that we’d be better off without.
I remember standing next to a guy at the urinals at the Waldorf. The guy was holding the cellphone in one hand and his…umm…well he was busy. All of a sudden, he drops the phone into the urinal , where it was immediately in the line of fire. When I left, he was still wondering if he should pick it up or leave it. Wonder what the person on the other end heard…and thought.
Anything that helps me serve my clients better is a valuable tool. With my Bluetooth I am more available and am able to deal with situations in a more timely manner. When Blackberry first made the scene, it received the same negative feedback and now, of course, they are readily accepted. I try to be courteous of those around me, and of course do what is necessary to insure privacy when discussing a sensitive or identifiable situation. More efficient means of communication is not new. Smoke signals were breakthrough in their day and we can expect that our communication options will continue to grow and amaze. I hope.
I think it’s just one more way technology is making us unaware of the world around us. While cell phones, blackberries and now Bluetooth-enabled cell phones have their time and place, they are eroding many of the common curtesies that could once be expected.
You get the loud cell phone talker in the seat next to you on the MTA, blithering on about their date last night, or worse yet, discuss privledged information. Then there’s the blackberry addicts, walking down the street, head down, typing away, completely oblivious to obsticles, cars and other pedestrians (though I must admit I nearly took a spill down the steps at the train station this morning as I tried to type an email). And now, Bluetooth in the bathroom? If there is one place the cell phone and blackberry don’t belong, it’s the bathroom — no one wants to hear that flush on the other end of the phone.
I can’t even begin to guess what’s coming next…
They look like big hearing aids to me.