"OMG! Have you seen the new Razor..."
It seems that everywhere I turn, there's a cellphone.
First off, let's get something straight: I'm 13. This fall, I'll start my first year of high school, and yes, I think owning a cellphone could be useful, but why are they the topic of so much conversation?
Cellphones are personal communication devices, but somehow, they've also become the definition of a cool, social teenager. I, as a teen, find this insulting: I don't own a cellphone, and neither do a lot of my friends, but somehow, Sarah's* sleek pink Iphone still manages to be the biggest attention grabber in my grade 8 classroom when she runs into the room on a Wednesday morning, eyes bright with excitement. Even my geeky guy pals take the time to admire the lightning quick Internet services, in favor of discussing our favorite books.
Another example of the power the cellphone has over our society can be found one sleepy day in late April, in the grade 8 core French class.
"...Now, we've been studying various careers for some time, but you all have yet to choose your preference," Chirps the assistant French teacher, "So today you will all take a multiple intelligence quiz, to determine whether you are Logical-Mathematical, Verbal-Linguistic, Visual, Natural, Intra-personal, Interpersonal..." I tune her out. I already know the answer: everything and anything but social.
I take my copy of the test when it comes to me, politely passing the rest of the papers to Scott*, who sits directly behind me.
"When everyone has a paper, you can all start writing. The test is in French, but you may answer in English." The teacher stops talking.
It's my first year in school, so my French is woefully inadequate, but deciphering the meaning is easy enough. The first few questions are very routine: "Your favorite classes are English, History, and French" is obviously for Verbal-Linguistic, and "You like to spend time alone to sort out your thoughts", intra-personal.
But then I reach question number 7, and my pencil freezes in mid air.
"You constantly talk to friends on your cellphone."
"Excuse me," I say, raising my hand as courteously as possible,"I don't have a cellphone, what should I put for question number 7?"
The teacher rolls her eyes. "Just don't check it!" She exclaims, as if this should have been obvious.
The fact that a question on a multiple intelligence would require you to own a cellphone in order to be a social person deeply disturbs me.
As I've already said, I'm not a very social person. I have plenty of friends, but I don't talk to them much outside of school: I've never felt the need, but on the other hand, I have friends like Lily* who spend all their time chatting with friends, but don't own cellphones. Not everyone can afford them, and that doesn't mean they aren't social, or prefer to be alone!
Yet the cellphone has become such an icon of teen popularity, it seems unthinkable even to a middle-school teacher that a 13 year old could enjoy company and conversation without owning a mobile phone.
Cellphones cause cancer, kill bees, and generally, cause misery for anyone who happens to be on public transit during someone elses loudmouthed conversation (That's another story), and now they give you a multiple intelligence quiz that says you cannot succeed in any career involving people skills, solely based on the fact that, for whatever reason, you don't own a Samsung.
I as a teenager, wish to reserve the right to live in a world where I am not associated with a small hunk of plastic and metal.
I don't believe that people don't have the right to use cellphones, I'm just saying that I want the right not to.
Thanks for listening to my rants,
*For the sake of my friends' privacy, I've changed everyones names.
Also, no copyright infringement intended in the use of product names. I was just using them to make a point!