by thea marie
What's on my mind....
Businesses Put Lid on Cell Phone Chatterboxes
I am all for this one.
I love my cell phone. I feel naked and vulnerable when I'm in the car, and I don't have it with me. I've actually driven off and turned around to go back and get it. In those cases, I always think, "I'm going to get a flat. The battery is going to suddenly go dead. I'm going to get 'jacked and be in the trunk of somebody's car", all with no cell phone to call for assistance or just to call and say "Come get me!".
It's not like I use it to talk on it that much. I've never been real big on the phone. I have certain people with whom I like to talk for extended periods of time, but even as a teenager, phone junkie I have never been. With the cell, I like the security of knowing that I can hook up with someone else in the event of an emergency, to get directions, to fix a last minute glitch, whatever. Unless I'm out of town, in the course of a month, I might make five or six calls. I probably get less than that. For me, a cell phone is merely an added convenience in my life.
But for some people it seems to have become an appendage. The other day, I was in the Emergency Room waiting to be seen, and there was a young girl curled up in a chair. I thought she was sleeping or just rolled up because she wasn't feeling well. When I looked closer, she was actually engaged in a low-key conversation on her cell. She wasn't bothering anyone; she was very quiet with it, but my mind went right to how sick are you that you feel like talking to somebody on the phone?
But then I had to check myself. Isolation is my style when I'm ill. It's not that way for everyone. Perhaps she was getting moral support while waiting to be seen by a doctor.
Everywhere you go, people are on cells. The grocery store, the mall, the airport, in the audience at performances during intermission, on the treadmill at the gym, waiting in line at the post office, waiting at the red light, driving through the green light, walking the dog or standing there while the dog takes a dump; it's constant. And sometimes it's highly annoying. I don't think people mean to be rude, but it is time that we, as a society set down some rules for acceptable cell phone use. I believe in everyone's right to be able to do and have what they want, but when a thing infringes upon the rights, privacy, and comfort of others, it becomes a problem.
I'm reminded of a young woman who was on her cell in the grocery store where I happened to be shopping one day. Not only was she speaking as if the other person was two aisles over rather than on the phone with her, every other word she used was profane. There were elderly people, young children, and people who just didn't want to hear all of that who had to be subjected to her lack of class and judgement. I should have said something to her, but I didn't. I didn't want to have to cuss her out should she cuss at me for getting on her about cussing- and being loud to boot.
Nothing is worse than being in a confined, quiet space, like a waiting room or in line somewhere, and have someone get into a long, unnecessarily loud conversation on the cell. The rest of us are subjected to all the details, the voice inflections, too loud laughter... the fact that we're only getting one side of the conversation....
I especially dislike being out to eat and having to work to tune out the cell phone conversation going on in the next booth or the next table. Why people feel they have to talk so loud or so long is beyond me. Yes, the cell is convenient. Perhaps the person is lonely and wishes they had someone with them to whom they could talk, but why do the rest of us have to be party to the conversation? What's funny, maybe I should say odd, is very often, there can be two or three live bodies talking together in the other booth or at the other table, and you don't seem to hear them. But that one somebody on the cell phone is practically yelling.
I've even had to check my husband for taking business calls while we're out to dinner. He didn't seem to get it until I arranged to have a few of my friends conveniently phone me when we were out. All of a sudden it was, "Who was that? Why you gotta talk while you're supposed to be out with me?", and I very politely reminded him that I never ask him who it is that is calling him nor had I complained about his callers keeping him from me when we're out.
Point made, that broke that up.
Unfortunately, that was but a small victory in the big war on what's proper when it comes to cell phone etiquette. Some people just don't get it. Just because you have the phone, doesn't mean you're in the best place to be on it. Just because the phone rings, that doesn't mean you have pick up and STAY on it.
With kids, I can see them making cell phone faux pas. They are in a position to be taught what's right from what's wrong. But most of the time, when I've been offended by it, it's been full grown adults. (Kids, you see, have enough sense most of the time to keep their voices down so that what's being said, cooed, planned, lied about, etc. stays on the low.)
The article above cites a case where a dentist had to post a sign asking his clients to refrain from using the phone when having dental work or x-rays done. Reading the message board that went with this article, another guy who said he is an actor, reported that he and a fellow actor had to stop performing one evening because someone in one of the front rows, was on his cell reciting for the listener everything that was going on in the play. When the perpetrator noticed that the performance had stopped and that the actors on stage were looking at him, he "sheepishly" put the phone away and received a standing ovation from the rest of the audience for doing so.
It would seem that common sense would prevail and that certain things ought to come naturally, but in some instances they don't. Some people blame the profliferation of cell phones for being the problem. I don't think so. It think it's like the gun thing; guns don't kill people, people kill people. Cell phones don't call people; people call people. We just need to learn when, how, and where it's proper to do it.