Turn off your damn phone

No iPhones!

Dear Mr. Inconsiderate,

Remember me? I’m the young man who had the misfortune of sitting next to you on the bus the other day. Yes, the bearded guy with the big nose. So you do remember me. I’m glad because I definitely remember you.

Could you do me a favour? The next time someone sits next to you, do you think you could turn off your phone and spare them and the rest of the bus the details of your love life? I mean, seriously, when you weren’t deafening me and swearing like a maniac, you were busy reading your texts aloud. Can’t you be out of touch for 10 minutes? Will the world implode?

Don’t get offended. I’m sure you’re a lovely guy when you stop shouting. I just don’t see why, when I’ve been out for hours and had a rotten day, that I should have to listen to your conversation. It’s got nothing to do with me. And I don’t want to have to listen to you having phone sex with your partner either.

The truth is I like to keep to myself. I don’t mind it if people talk around me but can’t you give me a little privacy? Perhaps talk more quietly and turn towards the window? It was bad enough when everyone’s mobiles rang at once and sounded like an opera (Wagner’s Ride of the iPhones) but with you talking near my ear the whole time, I felt like I was eavesdropping and didn’t know what to do.

I just don’t see why it’s so hard to be out of contact for a few minutes. Is something so urgent that you have to speak to someone at that moment? Cnt ur txt w8? A long time ago we didn’t even have mobile phones; I know, I’m shocked too! I think it was back in the 18th century, just before Al Gore invented the Internet. What would you have done then? Read a book?

I’m saying this because I think it’s something you should know. Maybe you’re a loud talker; maybe you’re half-deaf. Maybe you’re just a pervert who enjoys having phone sex in public. Whatever. If you show a little courtesy, it’ll come back to you. So next time you’re on the bus, could you turn off your damn phone, or at least be more discrete? I know I’ll thank you and I’m sure the other passengers will too.

One last thing. You might want to lay off the aftershave. Just saying.

Insincerely yours,
CJ Writer.


* * * * *
*

So I might have gone a bit overboard. 🙂 Do mobile phones bother anyone else, though? I hate it when people use them on buses and trains; they always start shouting and seem oblivious. Can’t I have a little peace on the way home?

And then there are those sex moan ringtones. I heard one on the bus the other day; I guess it was a joke but there were kids on the bus. I wasn’t laughing. 😕

Is happiness a state of mind?

You know, one of these days I’m actually going to finish a post when I mean to. Recently I’ve got into the habit of starting posts and not finishing them… I’m not sure why, there’s nothing particularly wrong with them. I just don’t feel like posting them and they get put aside.

I started doing it again with this post; I started writing it on Boxing Day and only got back to it today. I needed a couple of days to clear my mind anyway, so it wasn’t a bad thing… it’s just annoying and feels too much like writer’s block to me. I have enough of that in my life already, thanks.

Anyway, I’ve found myself thinking about happiness a lot lately. What started it was when I had dinner with my parents on Christmas day. A funny thing happened. It was just the three of us as we’re never that fussed about having a big Christmas. A couple of hours before we were going to eat, my mother decided to use the good china and we spent about ten minutes trying to find the good glasses to go with them. I think they must have vanished into the Twilight Zone because we couldn’t find them, so we settled for some champagne glasses instead.

I don’t drink much, so it was just ginger ale and it probably would have been easier to have drunk it out of the bottle. But it seemed like a nice idea, so I went along with it. My mistake. I’m halfway through the meal – a nice salad; we can’t imagine a roast on a hot day – and start to take a sip. Except I can’t. The glass won’t go past my nose.

I’ve never thought of myself as having a particularly large nose, but I must have as I just couldn’t get the glass past it. Maybe my nose was broken when that sandbag hit me ten years ago; maybe I’ve been telling too many lies like Pinocchio. Either way, it wasn’t working and tipping my head back didn’t help. I had a decision to make; either admit defeat (ha!) and get a different glass, or work out some other way.

So very slowly I started to slide down in my chair. I was able to angle the glass more and eventually the drink started to tip out. Of course by this time my parents were in absolute hysterics and I’m busy studying them, trying to work out which was to blame for my humongous nose. Strangely they’re both quite normal. I guess the gene must have skipped a generation. 😕

Later on I thought about it and I realised that, in a strange way, it was a nice experience. I mean, yes, I was being stubborn, but I didn’t feel embarrassed or stupid; I was with family and it’s been a while since we’d laughed like that. Even now when I think about it, it still gives me a happy feeling and that’s something I’ll remember for a long time.

Happiness is a strange thing, isn’t it? It’s something that can feel so different; contentment and peace can give us one kind of happiness, intense joy another. The way we each experience happiness is different, as is what makes us happy. Something I find funny – a show like Seinfeld or Friends – might be annoying to someone else; likewise some of us might go through our lives without showing much emotion, but might still feel peaceful and content. Happiness is so hard to define, but plays such an important part in our lives.

What I’ve been wondering recently is, do I feel happy in my life? Am I a happy person? If I’m being honest then I’d have to say I’m not sure. Most of the time I’m probably not; I like to laugh (and make people laugh) and try not to take things too seriously, but I consider things carefully and that’s my natural response. At the same time I’m not unhappy or sad either. I actually think I’m at peace most of the time. Happiness or sadness is an emotional response for me; I’m neither all the time, I’m just going about my day.

I think a lot of people confuse being “positive” with being “happy”. Being positive is a way of looking at life; being happy is an emotional response which comes from your mindset. You can choose to be positive, but usually something happens that makes you happy. I’ve heard people say they’re positive and so they’re happy, but I’m not so sure. For a lot of people having a positive mindset is a great thing; it lets you look to the future and it’s helped sportspeople and people in everyday life. But I’ve met several people who I’ve thought are so positive that they’re miserable. They work so hard at creating their outlook that they bring everyone down, including themselves; their relations with their families and friends are strained and though they’re positive, they never seem particularly happy… they always want more.

I think having a positive outlook in life is more likely to make us happy, but doesn’t mean we will be happy. And I suppose that’s why I’ve been thinking about this. I’ve been reading some articles recently that indicate if you’re happier, you’ll be healthier too. One study found that “happy” subjects were one-third less likely to develop a cold, while another found that people who thought in happier and more positive ways were more likely to increase their longevity by an average of 10 years.

If that’s right then there’s a definite reason to want to be happier. And so maybe I should make more of an effort to be happier and not let things bother me… although again I don’t feel like I’m unhappy or particularly negative. I’m content with who I am and think I’m a fairly realistic person. Plus isn’t the whole idea of what makes us happy all relative? I’m writing a new poem at the moment and like a lot of my poetry, it’s quite melancholic… some people might find it depressing but even though it’s sad, it makes me happy because it’s something I want to write. I think the key to happiness is respecting yourself, and in that way I’m at peace.

I wonder what you think? Does being happy make us healthy? Is happiness a state of mind? I’d be interested to find out, and I wish you all peace and happiness in the new year. 🙂