I began writing articles in July 2010 based around the advice of a fellow author. The recommendation was this: Article writing is an efficient method to deliver messages to readers, while at the same time establishing and building upon your brand. Years later, I have found this advice both truthful and valuable.
I hope you enjoy the piece*****
The wired earpiece is dead. Look around at any point in the day and if you see a wire going to someone’s ear, they are most likely listening to a sports related broadcast. I was a big fan of the wired earpiece; it certainly made calls while driving a lot easier.
Occasionally I would accidentally yank it out abruptly while changing gears, swatting bugs, or shaving. This would make a loud “pop” in the ear it was connected and suddenly I become disoriented, eyes on the road, hands reaching into cracks between the seats much like a senior scrambling for their Nitroglycerine pills at the first sign of panic.
I considered tangles and the occasional popped ear minor consequences for the convenience of driving my 5 speed SUV with both hands. Then came Bluetooth earpieces with the promise of crystal clear communication without a cord. The first earpieces to the market were primitive and often required me to speak quite loudly.
The individual I was talking to would often mention ambient noise. A few years after its introduction almost all phones had Bluetooth capabilities. My mom, who thinks putting my calls on speaker phone is necessary, loves her Bluetooth earpiece. Now she can have a conversation with someone on the other side of the house while eating dinner at the dining room table with the full use of both hands.
Only, she doesn’t use her hands to eat but rather as tools to emphasize her comments, much like a polished politician. It is a win win because her hands are free and I get to hear half of a conversation while I’m eating, but it is not like this happens everyday.
I only visit my parents once a week.
While in the grocery store, I’ve noticed far more people taking on their phone while shopping. I reminisce of my days as a food bagger at a major grocery chain and all the interesting people I would meet after midnight. The people who tended to think out loud would migrate to the grocery story in the early a.m.
hours. It was a lot like “the One Who Flew Over The Coo-Koo’s Nest”, only with more food. I recall asking a man if he wanted paper or plastic, only to be pulled aside and receive an explanation about how his oversized cowboy boots were full of semen. Enter the dilemma; it used to be easy to spot a mentally ill individual.
Time, experience, grandma or your mom warning you before you visit your grandma had taught you that certain traits should alert you that some individuals need their respective space even if it means trampling small children in an effort to give it to them. Fortunately as of this writing, it is rare for these individuals to obtain firearms, not because of restrictions or laws, but because they know if they give out their address or social security number big brother will finally be able to track them down.
There are the imposters who dwell at the red lights near the interstate asking for money, a ride or both. It’s easy to tell their “status” because the pro’s ask for five dollars knowing that you will have less difficulty parting with one dollar when asked for five.
That’s not crazy, that’s just clever marketing.
A few weeks ago I was visiting family in Miami when, after exiting the interstate, we stopped at a traffic light. An individual began shouting loud enough that his rambling could easily be heard over the radio, yet his words were completely incomprehensible.
I knew it was English because I heard the occasional preposition creep in. He spoke with the same passion, emotion and determination that a General would just prior to sending his troups into battle. He walked with an unnatural limp, not in an effort to be cool, but because he was most likely injured at some point; perhaps an accident involving a bottle of Mad Dog, a Greyhound and a severe need to urinate.
He’s not really talking to you but he’s not ignoring you either, again, much like a polished politician. After pacing back and forth for the third time with no signs of enlightenment or monetary interest, I turned to Lindsay and explained to her that “This guy is the real deal”.
Not all cases are as clear cut. I now see old bearded men in tee shirts, shorts, black socks and sandals marching down the sidewalk while talking out loud, but, what was once a clear cut case now has an ironic twist. He turns around and upon seeing the other side of his profile I discover his earpiece.
Instantly he has gone from barking lunatic to cuddly Grandpa. I don’t know if the earpiece is turned on, but the fact that it’s there gives “reasonable doubt” to the case on hand. I don’t know if we want these people to blend in, but if we did we should distribute the earpieces like free lottery tickets and tell them they “keep you from being tracked by big brother” and upon displaying it at the soup kitchen, entitles them to an extra ladle-full.
The dilemma has worsened. Last week I saw an advertisement for the hearing impaired and just plain nosy individuals who can purchase a hearing aid disguised as a Bluetooth earpiece.
The elderly lady must have said “Bingo!” five times in the commercial. The young gentleman overhears the ladies across the room commenting on “how cute he is”. The hunter tracks the deer via his enhanced hearing. The product is advertized as though you will become more lucky, attractive and efficient via the use of this earpiece.
Here’s a tip, if a guy is wearing an earpiece that looks like a homemade prop from a star trek convention, he probably doesn’t need to concern himself with whether women think he’s good looking. And if you take this thing hunting because you feel it gives you an edge on the competition, you deserve a hunting partner like Dick Cheney.
Perhaps earpieces are the next stage in a judgment free society. We can no longer assess whether someone is half-deaf, a stalker, barking lunatic or just calling home to check on their family. We have sacrificed a slice of instincts for a second helping of convenience in an effort to satisfy the hunger for expediency.
Regardless of whether we lower our guard or keep a safe distance, it is an extension of our paradigm of society. If we feel something / someone is a threat we react accordingly. Given the advent of earpieces, perhaps it is best that we resort to our primitive intuition.
Personally, if someone smells like B.O., (earpiece or not) I try to maintain enough space to get a running start (This rule does not apply in European countries).
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