I wish there was a way to capture this on film. I'm sitting at Union Station, in Toronto, waiting to go out for dinner with my brother-in-law from Vancouver. He's here in town on business, and we've arranged to meet downtown. I had some time to kill, so I'm camped out in the Via lounge area, where I've got Internet access.
But what is really cracking me up is the guy sitting next to me. For the last five minutes, his cell phone has been ringing and he keeps answering it. "Hello?" he shouts. "Hello?" again, a little louder. "HELLO!?" he's shouting, now for the fourth or fifth time. It's clear that whoever is calling is trying to drive him crazy...at least judging by how red his face is getting as his frustration mounts. It's very, very funny.
What he doesn't seem to realize (unlike the rest of us, apparently) is that the ringing he's hearing is actually the notification for an incoming text message. At least that's what it sounds like to me. And sure enough, each time he holds the phone up to his ear, I can see the flashing light that indicates a message.
I'm torn as to what I should do. Do I tell him? Or do I let him keep trying to figure out what the heck is happening? It's certainly entertaining for the rest of us...although it is getting a bit tiresome. His shouting is getting louder and louder and he's obviously losing his cool. An interesting social experience, in a perverse, downtown Toronto kind of way.
Finally, I can't take any more.
"Excuse me," I say, tapping him lightly on the arm. "But I think that signal means you've got a text message or a voice mail, not a phone call."
"What the hell is a text message?" he asks, turning towards me with the phone still plastered to the side of his head, looking at me suspiciously. I don't think he realizes I'm talking about his phone.
"I think the ringing is because there's an incoming text message. Someone is sending you a message, like an e-mail, on your phone," I try to explain, pointing.
Slowly, he takes the phone away from his ear and looks at it, not appearing to understand what I'm talking about. So I point at the tiny screen on his phone, which looks to me to have something written on it. Sure enough, as he looks at it, I can see the gears click into place and his face starts to turn red again. But this time, it's not from yelling.
"Well, I'll be damned," he mutters to himself, giving me an embarassed look, not surprising in the circumstances. Then he glances around at the other people in the lounge. Several pairs of eyes look back at him, most of them with smiles and one lady is laughing out loud.
Without another word, he picks up his briefcase and heads out of there, looking to read his newly discovered message somewhere where he won't disrupt anyone's concentration.
Suddenly, the phone in my pocket rings, startling me. As I open it, I do a double check, just to make sure it's really an incoming call. "This time, there is someone calling," I confirm to the others, who smile back. Time to head off for dinner.