Simple Acts of Cellvility
When are so-called modern conveniences inconvenient?
When they become major annoyances. Which more often than not is the case with
Yes, they are a boon to personal communication
but have you ever been in a closed, airless space and had to suffer some chatterbox
who's arguing obliviously with her brutish boyfriend? The experience is definitely up
there with enduring individuals who have yet to discover personal hygiene or
mouth-breathers who take up two seats on the subway.
That said, there should be certain rules of etiquette
when it comes to talking on your cell phone in public. Therefore, here are a few to
keep in mind before you cause that person sitting across from you in a restaurant to
hold up the "too much information" sign.
- HEY! Don't SHOUT when TALKING into a cell phone. Yes, you can't hear yourself in
the receiver, but that doesn't mean you're not heard clearly on the other end. You are
heard clearly. Too clearly. By everyone. Everywhere.
- Watch the flailing arm gestures. You're not alone in the privacy of your own
apartment, you're out in the world and people can see your every move, whether
they want to or not.
- Hands-free units may lower the risks associated with radio-frequency exposure, but
for those who insist on squawking and gesticulating away (see above) into what appears
to be thin air, know this: You look like a nutbar.
- Nix the silly ringer "songs." A phone should sound like a phone. If yours plays
"Jingle Bells" or a Mozart piano concerto or the riff from "Smoke on the Water," you're
likely annoying those around you. Especially your coworkers.
- If you're having a conversation with someone (say, if you're on a first date and
you're trying to make a good impression), let it ring through. Nothing's more obnoxious
than a person who takes a call, leaving a used-to-be friend dangling awkwardly for the
duration. The voice mail can get it. That's what it's there for.
- Watch where you are going. The other day I saw a woman on a cell walk smack into
a mailbox. Dignity is one of the more precious of human attributes. Preserve it.
- Turn off your cell phone at the movies. A lot of theaters now request that their
patrons abide by this simple act of decorum. But some folks think they're above it all.
Put it this way: If you've ever been more than a little bothered by someone who laughs
inappropriately at odd moments or gives away key plot points before they happen, then
certainly you can appreciate the value of ... silence.
- Unless it's an emergency, don't talk on your cell while driving. I live in Boston
where bad drivers are unrivaled and, for the most part, I'm a pedestrian.
I can't tell you how many times some oblivious wanker more concerned with whispering
sweet nothings to his girlfriend than with paying attention to the road has nearly
mowed me down.
- Turn off your cell before an interview. You do want that job, don't you?
- Other places to mind your cell-phone manners: restaurants, elevators, funerals
(duh), office meetings, houses of worship, on a long line and while taking public
transportation (although, thankfully, the signal for most phones gets cut off as you
slip underground on a subway).
The basic rule of thumb is this: Any time you think
you might be bugging the crap out of somebody, you probably are. Cell phones are a
great invention. Just make sure that yours doesn't impinge on the lives of others.
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