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Quiet Desperation

Not to be judgmental, but people who stare at phones are buffoons


You people and your phones.

You walk into trees and fountains, and weave on the highway.

Cause 25 Los Angeles Metrolink deaths, and cavalierly call anywhere at any time: in museums, theaters, restaurants, and on mountaintops where the views are too spectacular simply to be viewed. They have to be posted on Twitter.

Turns out Brian Cullinan, the PricewaterhouseCooper accountant who handed Warren Beatty the wrong envelope, had been "tweeting like crazy" backstage minutes beforehand.


I heard the news on the car radio when I was trying to get past a young woman in an SUV on Quebec Street, who was swerving in and out of my lane.

On the phone.

This is the same nail that I have been hammering for years, and I know it's a lost cause, like gun control and sideline reporters.

We need sideline reporters, who are mostly nice-looking haircuts, like we need to watch a giraffe 24 hours a day prior to giving birth.

But that's where we are. We wander out of the lane of what matters most all of the time.

We are easily distracted.

When did that start to happen?

I might be looking at the reason, right here in my office.

I don't write one of these nonstop, like columnists did at one time, in a smoke-filled news room.

Messages are checked, I walk the dog, find out how the Bruins did last night (they trounced Washington), write to Jennifer, beg a friend to get me under-the-table Colorado Symphony Yo-Yo Ma tickets, arrange a special gift for my best friend's 70th birthday, reminisce about meeting him 57 freaking years ago, and change Roger's water.

Roger is a betta.

Roger is a narcissist.

I bought him a compact mirror. I placed it on the outside of his bowl, and he stares at his reflection all day. Bettas are commonly known as "Siamese fighting fish."

Male bettas cannot be roomed with male bettas.

Therefore, there are three bachelors in the house. Man, dog, fish.

Not a one of us has a mobile phone.

We all have to learn to tolerate things that we cannot tolerate. In my case, the ubiquity of mobile phones and guns, and Adele in my dentist's office.

I wish there were a designated day when no mobile calls are made, no selfies are taken, no tweets were tweeted in public. Make it illegal and binding. Anyone caught making a call? Make them watch "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers."

(I acknowledge that there may be nothing better, however, in a true emergency than a cell phone.)

There has never been a less discreet generation. Couth took a hike, meandered into the woods, never came out.

I watched a man walking his dog on the greenbelt. Man was on the phone. Dog had a bowel movement. Man left bowel movement.

Within half a minute, I knew all I needed to know about him.

Talk with someone today.

In person.

Craig Marshall Smith is an artist, educator and Highlands Ranch resident. He can be reached at craigmarshallsmith@comcast.net.


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