Thursday, September 16, 2010

VICPs Are Like Digital Two-Year-Olds

What is a VICP?

A VICP is a Very Important Cellphone Person. They are on their cell phones almost nonstop. It doesn't matter that they're having dinner with friends, on a vacation tour bus, or walking down the street. They are almost never with the people they are with because they're on the cell phone with anyone else.

Now, those who really know me know that I'm not a phone person. Never was. Even as a teenager. Couldn't stand to be on the phone longer than it took to give or receive information. Don't know why, but there it is... so, you can just imagine how excited I was when cell phones took over the world.

Everyone walking around like a homeless person, talking to themselves... wait, no, they're talking to someone else, but now you can hear everything on their end of the line. Stuff you don't want to hear, don't want to know about -- but, can't get away from. TMI at its peak.

It seems there are people, today, who literally can't get from point A to point B without talking to someone else about what their next step should be. What is wrong with them, I wonder. Are they so insecure that they can't make their own decisions, or, more frightening, are they so controlled by someone else that they are not allowed to make a decision for fear of serious repercussions. People terrified of having an independent thought. And, we're raising our children to think they can't function without group think -- a very scary thought, indeed.

We are not discussing teenagers. I know that's how they get oxygen. They did it with land lines. They do it with cell phones. They'll do it with implants. And it is kind of funny to watch them walking down the street together -- each of them talking to someone else on their cell phone.

It's Not All About You VICPs; We're Here, Too

But, there is a point when it has to stop.
  • I can understand parents and children checking in with each other.
  • I can understand getting a clarification on something you might be doing for someone else.
  • I can understand calling for more specific directions when lost.
But, I have a real hard time with marathon cellphone conversations in public. If it's something that requires more than five minutes for clarification, your butt should be right in the same room with the person. I don't want to know where your files are or how to build the next rocket ship. I want to be able to focus on the job at hand. But, I can't, because the VICP insists on sharing every detail of their life with me and anyone else in the vicinity.

So, you're in the line at __________, and the VICP is second in line ahead of you and six to eight people behind. The cellphone will play its merry tune, the VICP takes the call, and everyone gets to listen as they circle in and out of their place in line. No one closes the gap because they have manners and don't want to make a scene. But, people are irritated -- no question about that -- because this side of the call does not reflect that the caller needs instruction on how to apply a tourniquet or where to dispose of a body just run over with a lawnmower -- they're just chatting because they have the time.

The clerk signals that they're ready to take the VICP next, but, no, the VICP just keeps talking, while the rest of the line begins that subtle ominous low grumbling... Finally, the frustrated clerk calls on the next person in line -- and the VICP gets mad! They're not hanging up, they're not ready to conduct their business, but they're not willing to give up what they thought was their place in line, either. WTF! No one owns a place in line and, if you're not ready when it's your turn, it's the next one in line's turn.

The sad truth is VICPs do not:
  • give the impression world events need their intervention
  • need all the hours in a day to keep up with all their friends
  • have businesses that can't function without ongoing instruction
  • brighten up your life by letting you in on theirs 
The VICPs do:
  • give the impression that they are rude
  • suggest they couldn't care less about the rights of other people
  • care more for the person on the phone than the person having a meal with them
Why should everyone else be held up until a VCIP's call is finished? When in public, why not use the 'vibrate' feature to announce a call so that the caller can be contacted, later. And, if the call is going to take some time, a considerate VCIP would step out of line and find a quiet corner to discuss their private life.

Two-year-olds are taught not to interrupt us without a good reason, why are callers -- who happen to be free to make the call -- allowed to demand immediate attention? Is it really asking too much for common courtesy?

And, texting...  aargh...


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