Thursday, October 30, 2008

Cell Phones

It strikes me that a cell phone seems to be the common excuse to be in public, but ignore the public.

It's bizarre that this little tiny device, with it's incredibly small level of interaction, can take the place of the massive sensory stimulus that is the world around us.

I'd like to think that I don't do this.  I know that almost certainly I'm wrong on that.

I do try to not talk on the cell phone around other people.  Let's face it, it's kind of rude to talk to someone that isn't there.  It's why we call crazy people "Crazy People".  We generally don't invite those people to parties.

I hate talking on the cellphone when I'm in the car with someone.  That's got to be one of my ultimate pet peeves.  You've basically just forced this other person to sit down, shut up, and not move.  The strange converse?  I don't mind that much if someone else takes a phone call while I'm in the car.

Not so in restaurants.  Seriously, you wouldn't do it at your mother's table, certainly don't do it out in public.

I truly applaud restaurants with a "No Cellphone" policy.  I recently went to one that kept my meal warm when I stepped outside to take a call.  Incredibly classy place, even if it was a 24 hour diner serving greaseball cheesesteaks (hey, at 2am, sometimes you really get a craving for an awesome cheesesteak).

I guess this is one other part of the "Treat others better".  Not well, but better.  Maybe start small, and just try to make one stranger actually happy that they were in your proximity that day.  If you find that you need to be a little bit stronger in an interaction, it's always easier to go from nice to nasty, than mean to nice.  Give everyone the opportunity to be nice.  I think the results will astound you.

1 comment:

Mike said...

As you know, I've been spending a lot of time at the Library of Congress recently. Of all places, you'd think that the Main Reading Room, that ULTIMATE library (and who doesn't know that library = shhh!) would be the one place that people turn off their frickin' cell phones. You'd think, but you'd be wrong. As far as I can tell, the LoC doesn't actually have any signs anywhere telling you to silence your phones, because presumably they figured they didn't need to say it. On my last three visits to the place, THREE times (once each time), someone's phone went off in the Main Reading Room. Loudly. And that place echoes something fierce. Twice, the phones were silenced fairly quickly. The third, however, the owner of the phone was away from his station and had left his phone there. And of course, it was one of those obnoxiously hip ring tones that mimics some popular song, only in gruesome midi format. It kept going. And going. But, it gets better... turns out, the owner of the phone was standing at the circulation desk, not ten feet away from his phone. Yep, he was just going to let it go to voice mail, until the librarian on duty said to him (I was close enough to hear), "Is that your phone?" Suddenly the guy rushed over to silence the ring, but the damage was done. The librarian gave him a locker key and told him to go lock up his phone and not bring it back into the library ever again. I wish that sort of thing weren't necessary.