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I remember when I saw a cell phone for the first time. I had just graduated from college in New Hampshire, and I was driving across the country in a borrowed, cruddy little Civic with my younger brother. The idea seemed great when we started¿eat food served in bags and suck down enough caffeine to get to Disneyland in four days. But by the time we rolled into Anaheim, I was covered in Dorito dust. My neck hurt. The $175 speeding ticket we got in Kentucky was stuck to my shoe. Which is when I had a vision, and my life changed forever. A beautiful girl driving a mocha-colored Mercedes convertible glided up next to us and started shouting into a toaster. Or one of those boxy Motorola field phones from World War II. I couldn’t tell. Then I realized it was a cell phone. And within about 10 seconds, I wanted one.
With a cell phone you can be connected and you can be outside¿all at once. I didn’t care if she was closing a three-picture deal or gossiping with her pals. She was in the sun, and she was moving. So I have this opinion: Cell phones on the slopes are not only acceptable, they’re a dream come true. If I have to spend one extra minute grafted to my office chair and miss a chance to glide weightless through Wasatch velvet because I might miss that call from my editor, I swear I’ll dangle a participle.
How often do you get outside when you really want to? Look, cell phones fit in a pocket, and so do our windows of free time. Aside from the high-tech safety net cell phones provide, they also free you. You want an emergency? How about the call from the spouse who has the kid and needs a break because if you don’t get down to daycare right now so she can take a run by herself, she’ll murder you in your sleep? I mean, I’m glad I got that call. And here’s another wonder: Cell phones have off switches.
Is there cell etiquette? Of course there is, just as there are social guidelines for dress, language and conflict resolution. Which brings us to Jay’s gondola incident. Affrontery is in the eye of the beholder, but the guy who threw the other guy’s phone out of the gondola window was using kindergarten logic¿”If I don’t like it, I’ll take it away.” Here’s an idea: If somebody’s talking too loudly, ask them to be polite.
And don’t litter in Aspen. It’s a $500 fine.