One day, a man passed us talking on his phone. It was a car phone, but in his hand. It was the first one I had ever seen outside of a TV show about drug dealers and the cops who hunt them. The two of us, 16 and 17, shook our heads in shock--and disgust. "No one is that busy," my brother said.
I wonder what the other guys sitting along Wacker thought. Young as we were, it had to be a remarkable site to more than just us. Maybe a few on those plaza steps envied the man and his on-the-go style and coveted a mobile phone of their own. My guess, though, is that even right there outside one of the hubs of modern capitalism, most agreed no one was that busy.
Over the next decade signs of a changing world piled up. There was the time in 1996 when a woman's cell-phone went off in my Modern American Lit class at Marquette University. Our professor-- as mild-mannered a guy to ever teach a humanities course--icily told her to turn it off. Now. The rest of the class was about as appalled.