I was in the quilt store yesterday, trying to choose fabrics for a rug-making class I'll be taking today. The teacher of the class was present, teaching another class, and we chatted a bit while Bean scrambled around at my feet. I kept trying to head her off as she repeatedly made a bee-line for the ironing board with a hot iron on top and various electrical cords snaking around its base. Nothing was working--not my usually fascinating fuzzy scarf, not my little zippered make-up bag, not a bolt of colorful fabric. Finally, I handed her my cell phone and my watch, which stopped her cold. It also stopped the teacher cold.
Teacher: Letting her teeth on your cell phone, huh?
Me: Hey, whatever works! She's in the phase right now where toys have become boring and she wants MY stuff. She'll probably call China or something, but right now I'm o.k. with that.
Teacher: You know that antenna on your cell phone isn't good for her.
Me: (looking at Bean) Oh, it's retracted. I don't think she even realizes there IS an antenna.
Teacher: No, but it's still receiving radio waves.
Me: (giving her a puzzled look but trying to look interested) Oh...? I...uh...didn't know that.
Teacher: (very firmly and staring me in the eyes) Yeah, and you know radio waves are radioactive.
Me: (trying not to look incredulous) Oh! Well, better get it away from her then.
And I backed slowly away from this woman. Who, in addition to teaching the class I'm attending today, was also the RN present at Sister's birth. A real live trained health professional who you'd think would know better! But maybe I'm the moron here and she's right? I'm trying to conjure up my middle school science classes, but I thought...I mean, isn't radioactivity from unstable isotopes? And, like, not from radio waves? If cell phones were really radioactive it seems like everyone and their mother wouldn't be carrying one around these days with no ill effect other than rudeness and poor driving. Any scientists out there want to correct this woman? Or me? It was so weird.