Can you tell by the title of the column that Im really annoyed by the seemingly unbridled and impolite use (or abuse) of the cell phone, or crackberry, or iPhone, or whatever you call them these days?
Im actually much more than annoyed, but I couldnt find a way to express it and still maintain my good relationship with the FNP.
If youre a regular reader of my column, you already know that, even though I own a cell phone, Im not a huge fan of them. I must be unique (maybe antique) in that I see them as a tool rather than my own personal entertainment center.
However, I dont consider myself a Luddite. I know cell phones have their place and I have no problem with them, as long as they stay in their place.
On the other hand, when through ignorance, or just poor manners, their intended use is abused; I do have a huge problem with them. Please understand, Im not talking about the cell phones themselves, but instead, about the ill-mannered, dim-witted, people using them.
I thought Id better clear that up so I dont receive any ugly phone calls or letters from attorneys threatening to sue me for slander or libel. Remember Oprah and the beef industry debacle I dont want to go there.
By now, you may be wondering why this normally well-mannered, even-tempered columnist started on this tirade.
Picture this. My wife and I were having a quiet lunch, in a quaint little diner, in a small town its actually called the Hometown Diner. Cute, eh? All is well, and we were enjoying our meal until another diner shows up and gets on his cell phone, and proceeds to tell whoever is on the other end about this quaint little restaurant, as well as the whole itinerary of his trip.
Unfortunately, this was in a voice loud enough for everyone in the place to hear every word. Take it outside Tommy Tourist! I would have really liked to have gone over and yanked the phone from his hands and dropped it into his glass of sweet tea. Am I the only one irked by this behavior? Seriously, what are we to do? Do we confront, or tolerate it?
Next up is another case of patent ignorance, or, in my opinion, inanity.
There is a grandmother sitting across from her grandson in a restaurant (can you tell we eat out a lot?) and she is texting away, completely oblivious to him being there, until he starts to fidget.
Then, all of a sudden, hes got her attention, but only long enough for her to tell him to quit misbehaving, and then she goes back to texting. Im speechless. Again, Id like to rip that phone right out of her hands and, well, you know what Id like to do with it. Whether its your kids, grandkids, family or friends I cannot think of a bigger insult than to be left sitting there, looking as forlorn as the Maytag repairman, while someone youre with is talking to or texting another person. Its unbelievably poor manners.
As they say on the infomercials Wait! Theres more.
Did you ever go to a party and start having a conversation with someone, and then you notice that while you are talking to them they are actually looking furtively across the room. True, they just may not be that into you but I still find it extremely rude.
So why then, is it any different when youre having a conversation with someone, their cell phone rings and they feel that they must answer their master? I know, I know, its a business call, fine, take it. Its an emergency call, fine, take it. Its the Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes, fine, whatever, take it. Im sorry, but unless the consequences of not answering that call are so dire that you MUST answer it, then I think it is just plain old fashion rude behavior.
I have two more examples and then, I swear, Im done.
How about this? Youre at the bank, your favorite fast food joint, or (heaven forbid) Wally World, waiting to conduct business and the person in front of you is trying to complete their transaction, and at the same time, talk on the phone. Could they puleassee, just for one minute, get off of the blankety-blank phone and conduct the business at hand? Its a good thing Im not the one on the other side of the counter because Id give them a choice. You can talk to me, or them, but not both. Your call. (pun intended.)
Finally, and you know I had to sneak this in, its about celling and driving. You may remember that my wife and I entered the no phone zone at the beginning of this year. We plain dont talk on the cell phone while driving. Period.
However, she ran into a situation that Id like some feedback on. She was on a trip with a friend in our car, but the friend was driving. The friends cell phone rang and my wife, with permission, answered it for her, and wanted to field the call, or take a message. However, the friend stuck out her hand for the phone and proceeded to talk and drive.
Well, hells bells, if someone is going to talk and drive, Id just as soon it be me, or in this case, my wife.
We have decided that from here on out, well discuss the no phone use while driving issue prior to getting in the car with someone. Our hope is that, one day, phoning and driving will develop the same social stigma as smoking in a vehicle. You just dont do it.
So, if you, or someone you know, or love, is one of these phone abusers dont be surprised when sometime, somewhere, when you least expect it someone walks up and plops your cell phone in your sweet tea. Dont worry, if its me, Ill buy you another tea.
It may sound harsh, but hey, its just my opinion. Whats yours?
Rick Godfrey writes a monthly column for fredericknewspost.com.