Guilty of an annoying cell phone

Should I or shouldn’t I? Should I or shouldn’t I what, you ask?
Use my cell phone while shopping. I had just read the column by Rheta Grimsley Johnson in the Gazette Friday about how much she hates to listen to other people’s mindless cell phone conversations in the grocery store. She calls it “unavoidable eavesdropping.”

I already had heard Johnson complaining about cell phones in person. She and her husband, Hines Hall, had dinner with Jenny and me while they were in town last month for the RiverFest Community Kickoff Luncheon.
At dinner she was talking about how listening to people on cell phones had made her so upset that she had thrown away her own cell phone. She had decided life was too short to put up with the annoyance.
Of course, her husband mentioned that now when she needs a cell phone, she uses his.
Anyhow, there I was Saturday morning in Sam’s Club in Tupelo with my monthly “Sam’s list.” Going to the grocery store is part of my Saturday morning ritual.
Jenny and I have a strict division of duties. She hates to go grocery shopping and I sort of like it. She would rather do the laundry. Laundry is not one of my favorites and I don’t sort the laundry into enough piles to suit her.
None of that has much to do with the fact that I was in Sam’s Club.
Anyway, I had just gotten to the frozen fish case when I noticed that the parmesan-encrusted tilapia filets, which we had bought for years, had disappeared. It wasn’t that they were sold out; the place where they always had been was stocked with something else.
Uh oh, I thought. I eat the blackened salmon, but Jenny and Joe insist on the parmesan tilapia. What to do?
I looked around to see if anyone was watching. Then I took the cell phone out of my pocket and called Jenny. No one else was in the aisle, so I walked down the frozen fish case reading off the other fish choices to her. She picked the lightly breaded flounder, and I hung up.
I felt a little guilty, though, because Johnson’s column also appears in the Saturday morning Tupelo paper and I figured some of the people in the store had just read it.
I was feeling less guilty by the time I had gone to Kroger to pick up a few things we can’t get in New Albany, and noticed I had forgotten to write down on the list several things we had talked about. Of course, I couldn’t remember all of them.
Another couple of phone calls later, I had everything we needed. In between, Jenny had called me to ask if I was going to be home in time to go to lunch. She had gotten a George’s chicken craving.
Are cell phones an annoyance in public places? Yes. Could I give up my cell phone? Probably, but I would be making a lot more trips to the store.

T. Wayne Mitchell, publisher of the Gazette, can be reached by phone at 662-534-6321 or by e-mail at