Tuesday, November 2, 2010

More Cell Phones Than Toilets

How many of you are carrying a cell phone right now? Nearly all of you.

I'm not going to pass judgment, but the Associated Press just reported there are more cell phones than toilets in India. I think the same can be said about America and the world in general.

We now have wi-fi access atop Mount Everest!

Progress can look a little strange at times. I have resisted cell phones until recently and I use mine grudgingly. I was trained to hate telephones a long time ago so the last thing I want is one following me around. The trouble is, everyone else wants it and now I am expected to have one to remain kosher. If you don't have a cell phone, you're nearly unreachable and I like my time off.

I have things to do but that ring tone signals trouble. Somebody has something they expect me to do. "How have you been?" is an introduction to "Please help me out." Most of the time, we fall for it. It is always easier to avoid problems than to face them head on by saying, "Sorry."

"No." is a common word for dog trainers, but the rest of us have a hard time using it in a sentence. When someone calls, you gotta answer. All right, I was going to get drunk and watch the game but I'm now convinced moving your refrigerator is a better application of my talents.

Apparently, the rest of the world does not share my distaste with telephone technology. Maybe the fact that your phone is no longer just a phone is what has their interest. So far, they all look like toys to me. Scary toys that ring out your name and connive you to do their will.

Ten thousand people live in tar paper shacks in the slums outside Mumbai. The streets are ramshackle and there is no official electrical or water service. The local Mafia can hook you up for a price, though. What nobody can provide is a latrine. The people squat where they choose.

And yet, as poor as these people are, almost all of them own a cell phone. Unbelievable.

Are cell phones really a basic necessity? Is their telephone the only hope for contact with the rest of humanity? What do these people talk about all day? How much is their plan?

The AP article didn't answer any of my questions, but it showed me that we're paying way too much for our bandwidth.

Another question that pops to mind is why anyone would want to expand the information infrastructure to every inch of the globe. Once you have a carrier link established, any intelligence can communicate. Hopefully, honest people may communicate openly.

I will think of this control grid as progress. We can't organize for clean water, clear sewers and access to a little cash without the ability to contact one another. I just wonder what all the extra electromagnetic radiation is doing to our kids.

Hey, kid! Put this transmitter against your skull and pull the trigger! Good boy.

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