Cell Phones, Manners, Life & Death

This afternoon I drove to Sonic. I took my kids and my dog over there in the convertible to enjoy some yummy drinks. The weather was so perfect today, and it’s these type of days that I love having my convertible.

Anyway, while we were at Sonic, enjoying our drinks, some loud, obnoxious teenager decides to have a screaming fit on his cell phone. All I heard was “verbal contract,” yada yada yada, and he was using a really tough guy accent, not a Georgia sounding one at all.

My point is he was LOUD. He was disturbing our peaceful Sonic experience. I made some comment as I was driving away like, “Thanks for ruining our enjoyment of Sonic.” Of course he didn’t hear me, he was too busy yelling on his phone.

I’m really tired of cell phones. I don’t want to hear your conversation, people. I’m tired of them ringing in the middle of movie theaters, and worse, people answering them and talking at full voice. I’m tired of them interrupting church services, when I’m receiving communion. I’m tired of them ringing during orchestra rehearsals. My son said he’s tired of seeing people look at them to check messages mid conversation with someone else. My orchestra director would do that in the middle of a rehearsal. He’d be swinging his baton, and then all of the sudden pull his cell phone out of his pocket and look at it. And, if you read my prior camping article, you’ll see that’s I’m tired of hearing loudmouths chatter away at 1:00 AM in campgrounds on their phones while I’m trying to sleep.

There’s gotta be a baseline of courtesy with these things. Reading texts is not much better. Nothing like having a heavy duty conversation with someone only for them to pause to read a text from someone else.

I think it all comes down to being in the moment. If you are doing something, don’t let a cell phone interrupt you. Concentrate on that thing you are doing. Society is pushing us to multitask all aspects of our lives. This is not a good thing. No one is relaxing anymore or enjoying nice, quiet, everyday moments. Cell phones are ruining those moments.

These things, when it comes down to it, should really be used only in emergencies. I use mine from time to time to meet up with people. They are very good for that. As a rule, I don’t generally just yak on and on with the cell phone out in public. If I’m out enjoying a meal with my family at a restaurant, I don’t want my phone ringing. If it does, and if I decide to answer it, it is going to be very brief. It’s not nice to expect everyone else around you to stop what they are doing so you can have your conversation on the phone.

I think cell phones are so ubiquitous now that people have decided there are no rules when it comes to them. Study after study has shown that driving while talking on the cell phone is just as dangerous as driving drunk. Your attention is not there. You’re not “in the moment” of driving your car. They also have studied hands-free cell phone users and found that they are still in “drunk driver” mode while using these. I have wondered, what the difference is between having a conversation with someone who is a passenger in your car and talking to someone on a hands-free phone. The difference is that the passenger is also watching you drive and can draw your attention back to the road if it looks like you are slipping on your driving. This, of course, can’t be the case with a cell phone conversation. So many car crashes, and deaths, are being caused by these things.

Companies are finding out that if they call an employee on a cell phone while he is driving, and that employee gets into an accident, the company may be held liable. It would additionally be considered a Workers’ Comp case for the employee. For this reason, even employers are pushing employees to not use cell phones in their cars.

So people, use your brain. If it’s rude to interrupt a conversation to answer a phone, don’t answer it. If you are in your car and you get a call, don’t answer it and don’t make calls. Pull over and call them back. If you need to let someone know when you will be home, call them before you get in your car. Call them when you arrive at your destination. Stay in your car when you do this. Treat it like a phone booth. Don’t waltz around the store yammering away. I really don’t want to hear you, and you annoy me when you are ignoring the cashier because of your phone conversation. It’s very rude to the cashier and everyone else in line.

I cannot say that I have not been guilty of some of the above behavior, because I have. I’m sure all of us who own a cell phone have. It’s because we sort of forget the rest of the world when we’re on our phone. I’m really going to make a point to be much more polite to the world around me when I am using my cell phone. It’s called common courtesy, but it isn’t so common anymore.

By susan