I’m a lawbreaker. Chances are you are too. At age 62, what I’ve come to realize is that everyone’s a scofflaw! It’s just a matter of which laws you choose to break, and whether or not you get away with it.
When it comes to potential criminal behavior, you weigh the benefits of breaking the law with the risks, then make a decision that works for you. I smoked my first joint at age 15 and I’ve been a recreational pot smoker ever since. Every single time I toked, it was illegal. But I’ve never been caught and I have no regrets. I also routinely drive over the speed limit and I often fail to put quarters in parking meters. Plus, I jaywalk. But here’s my absolute favorite way to break the law: I own and use a cellphone blocker.
Mother's little helper
I had no idea such a thing existed until my tech-savvy son told me about them, years ago, when he was still a teenager living under my roof. He knew how much I dislike listening to people yammering away on their phones in public. So when he read an article about a nifty little gadget you could carry around that would block nearby cellphone signals, he handed me the article and said, “This sounds like your kind of thing.”
“I want one!’ I told him. “Can you order a cellphone blocker for me?”
“They’re illegal,” he said.
“Here’s my credit card,” I responded. “When the authorities come to arrest me, I won’t tell them you’re involved.”
But I was confident a jury of my peers would never convict me -- assuming my peers are, like me, middle-aged women who have had it with listening to everybody’s private business while standing in line at Starbucks.
The sound of silence
It arrived a week later. What does it look like? It looks, ironically, just like a cellphone! Which means you can take it anywhere, and it sure is fun.
I’m in line at the supermarket. The woman in front of me pulls out her phone and starts blathering to her girlfriend about the hot guy she went out with last night. As she enthusiastically describes their carnal encounter in way-too-graphic detail, I pull out my own “cellphone,” flick the switch, and -- blessed silence!
A patron approaches the circulation desk at the Main Line library where I work, hands me her card, shoves a pile of DVDs at me, and continues prattling away on her phone about the latest episode of Poldark. When I scan the card, a message appears on the screen telling me her account is blocked because she owes the library a large fine. Formerly, my only options were to interrupt her conversation or wait patiently for her to shut up. Now I just reach under the desk where I‘ve concealed my Blather Buster, flip the switch, and shut her down.
I cannot begin to tell you how satisfying this is.
I always employ this delightful little gizmo wisely, of course. I would never dream of abusing my godlike powers over your cellphone use. When the folks around me use their cells to make brief calls -- to tell a friend they’re running late or check with their sweetie about whether to pick up Chinese or Indian takeout on the way home, I let it slide.
But once the inane chatter begins? Let there be quiet! On the train, at the post office, in line at the bank, I now have my very own portable zone of peace and tranquility.
But aren’t I being a bad influence on my son? By enlisting his aid in procuring this wonderful but illegal device and using it when the two of us are out and about, what kind of values am I passing along to him?
Our family values, of course -- which is to say that when it comes to breaking the law, use good judgment. And don’t get caught.