Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Columns

August 18, 2013

Lee Ward: Hands-free frees the mind as well: 8/18/13

ASHLAND — A couple of years ago, I bought a wireless device so I could drive and talk on my cellphone.

I never used it, until now.

When it became illegal to use a cellphone while driving, I dug through the rubble on my desk at home and found it, charged it and plumbed the depth of my mind for how to use it.

It was easy — easy to charge and easy to make work.

I found it quite difficult, however, to use. You have to hook it onto your ear just so or you will struggle to keep it in place while you’re driving and, therefore, be distracted by your earpiece while you drive instead of your actual phone.

Fortunately, I don’t talk on the phone a lot, so even though I try to put it into place when I drive, just in case, if it falls off, it’s no big loss.

I have discovered it’s nice to wear around the house while you’re doing laundry or other housework. I can carry a basket of laundry and talk on the phone at the same time. That’s handy.

The other night, when I went out to do errands after work, I put it on. I half way expected a call, but it never came. I wore the set anyway because I thought it might help me get used to it. Plus, I might get a call at any moment and it would be nice to have my hands free.

There are advantages to wearing a hands-free device besides the obvious.

When you’re in the car singing with the radio, you can pretend you have one of those trendy microphones all the famous singers wear on stage.

Also, it makes you look important when you wear a hands-free device in a car or a store.

For instance, that night I was out doing errands, I got so used to the device I nearly forgot about it. I had a good, tight fit so I didn’t have to worry about it falling off my ear.

I went about my shopping in the grocery store, even began softly singing some of the tunes from the 1960s playing on the intercom.

I didn’t worry about it. The store’s not crowded and I’ll shut up if I see anyone, I thought.

Next thing you know, I was talking to myself, which isn’t all that unusual, even in public. At that point, I didn’t plan to shut up if I encountered someone. I don’t care if a stranger thinks I’m crazy. There are already plenty of strangers who have run into me in public who certainly think I’m crazy. Usually, those people give me a look and move on. Sometimes, I admit to the stranger I was talking to myself and they usually tell me they talk to themselves all the time.

That night I saw a few strangers and they saw me. They saw me talking to myself and they didn’t pay a bit of attention.

I realized, as I walked and talked my way to my car, that nobody paid a bit of attention because everyone thought I was talking on the phone; it appears to strangers that I’m one of those important people who is on the phone all the time. What about that? I’m not crazy after all.

LEE WARD can be reached at lward@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2661.

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