The trouble with transmission

A couple of seasons back in the new Doctor Who, Rose and the Doctor ended up in a parallel dimension.  Everything seemed to be the same, except for the many zeppelins hovering over London, and some strange apparatuses attached to everyone’s ear that resembled that worn by Lieutenant Uhura.  All seemed hunky dory until everyone unexpectedly stopped dead in their tracks (much like in The Happening, although with much happier results).  A few minutes later, life resumed as normal, and everyone seemed unaware that they had stopped at all.  It seems that the major difference between this dimension and our own was that some tyrant had taken over London and was transmitting propaganda to the inhabitants via this “earbud,” as they were so called.  Needless to say, some pretty wonky things happened shortly afterwards.

This episode only intensified my already in-place aversion to our version of the earbud, the bluetooth.  I understand that this device is an innovative way to ensure that one does not juggle a cell phone with a steering wheel.  However, using the bluetooth seems a bit silly and useless to me when one is not driving, or otherwise engaging both hands in an activity that should probably also include the brain.

Case in point: after shopping for groceries yesterday morning, I found a well-dressed man leaning against his car, which was parked next to mine.  He stood perfectly still with a slight grin on his face.  He didn’t seem to intend me any harm, so I smiled back as I began loading the bags into my trunk.

“Are you done?”

I looked up.  The man was still leaning against his car, facing my direction, smile still plastered on his face.  There was no one else within a 100-foot radius, so the words could only have come from him, and they could have only been directed to me.  It took me a couple of moments to process that he was speaking to me.  He spoke again: “I said, are you done?”

I looked up sharply.  “Excuse me?”

The smile fell from the man’s face, which flushed slightly pink.  He then gestured wildly at his ear, which had been hidden by the turn of his head, and on which was secured one of those bluetooth devices.  I realized that he was having a telephone conversation and was not speaking to me at all.

The moral of this tale is that the bluetooth, which does make for safer driving conditions, not only looks silly but may cause unavoidable and embarrassing collisions in social situations.  It may be fashionable at the moment, but I do hope that it follows suit with most every other fad.  You also never know when an evil tyrant may begin transmitting propaganda.  When that happens, I want to be sure that I am not equipped to receive the transmission.

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Mike
    Jul 16, 2008 @ 20:22:37

    They are pretty silly. I know I’ve been in situations similar to yours (where I thought someone was talking to me and they were in fact talking on their bluetooth).

    I wonder if the Happening took a note from that Dr. Who episode…

    Reply

  2. Peter K.
    Jul 17, 2008 @ 08:55:02

    It’s funny you should mention this episode. I think it was referenced in a recent wiki entry regarding the preponderance of Zepplins in alternate timelines:
    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ZeppelinsFromAnotherWorld

    Though the earbuds thing (and all similarly ubiquitous information technology doohickeys) makes me think of the Feed which, as much as I love the internet, scares me a little.

    Reply

  3. megan
    Jul 17, 2008 @ 22:07:30

    Hooray for the comment, Peter! I thought Mike was the only one who was reading these days.

    Reply

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