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Cell Phone Manners


Holly Moore
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The setting (a theater) renders it slightly off topic, but it's still a cell phone:

I work in the theater, and it was bad enough that someone in the audience forgot to turn their cell phone off, it rang during the show, and they decided to cope with it by simply letting it go on until it stopped ringing.

What made it worse was, they had programmed their ring tone to be the sound of a clucking chicken.

Seriously. Right in the middle of a tense, quiet scene, in a small theater, suddenly we all hear "Brawwwwwwwk-buk-buk-buk b-gawwwwwwk, buk-buk-buk-b-gAWWWWWK...." Even the actors stopped briefly and looked into the house wondering, "What the HELL?"....

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I can think of many times when I'd love to have a cell phone.

From work: "hey it's slammed, I'm going to be an hour later than usual"

From the car: "Traffic is a bear, please wait for me" --almost missed an appointment with our wedding officiant because of this!

From the middle of nowhere: "I'm lost...there's a Wendy's and a traffic light...where am I?" (yes this has happened too)

And yes, even from the bakery or grocery store: "Honey, what kind of bread/razors/tampons do you want?"

I also can't help but think it's selfish to expect that when people are with you, the rest of their lives disappear.

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I heard or read someplace about a cellphone user in a restaurant who was describing (in quite audible tones) the most intimate details of her date the night before.

A fellow diner immediately picked up his phone, and said, "You should hear what this chickie in the restaurant is talking about!" and began to repeat, word for word and just loud, her conversation.

Probably shut her up quickly.

I was once in a bathroom stall, when the woman next to me said hello. I responded, a bit quizically. When she said, "Whatcha doing?" I was taken aback and began to stutter something. She then said--to me--"I am on the phone, do you mind?" :hmmm:

sparrowgrass
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I can think of many times when I'd love to have a cell phone. 

From work: "hey it's slammed, I'm going to be an hour later than usual"

From the car: "Traffic is a bear, please wait for me" --almost missed an appointment with our wedding officiant because of this!

From the middle of nowhere: "I'm lost...there's a Wendy's and a traffic light...where am I?"  (yes this has happened too)

And yes, even from the bakery or grocery store:  "Honey, what kind of bread/razors/tampons do you want?"

I also can't help but think it's selfish to expect that when people are with you, the rest of their lives disappear.

I would have no problem with cell-phone users if they confined they conversations to "What kind of bread do you want?" or "I'll be an hour late, please wait for me," or "I'm slammed at work and can't make dinner" -- all spoken, of course, in hushed tones that recognize that the speaker is forcing his/her conversation on the ears of bystanders who have been given no choice in the matter. That, it seems to me, is exactly what cell phones were designed to do, and it's an excellent service.

I feel very different, however, about cell-phone users who embark on long, often shrieking conversations without the slightest recognition that other people exist, and might prefer not to be privy to the hillarious details of what Phoebe said to Allison, or the fact that the speaker is "on the corner of 53rd Street, and I'm heading toward that place where we had, you know, that veal thing, and it made Damian so sick, you remember? and he was blowing chunks for, like, days, it was hysterical." This behavior strikes me as just breathtakingly rude. Beyond rude, actually. I pretty much think offenders should be shot.

Edited by mags (log)
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OK... I will fess up.

I am in this resaurant at lunch in downtown Houston. This is during the Enron dust-up. This self-important asshole at the next table is yammering about this "deal" he is making, going on and on about how he has really pulled one on the other party. I pick up my (turned off) cell phone and start saying things like... "Hey guy. You won't believe what I am hearing. This idiot is on his cell phone talking about a deal that sounds kind of shady. Yeah! Right here in xxx (the restaurant)! Yeah! Unbelievable! Who knows what it is about? Let me see... He is in his late 20s to early 30s, gray suit, blue shirt with white collar, reddish tie..."

Offending diner snaps phone shut and exits, stage left.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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Cooks with cell phones kills me.  What are they drug dealers that cannot miss a call?

:laugh: Usually..yes! :cool:

Actually.... if they're like many of the line cooks I know, they're waiting for a call from their bookie :biggrin:

Not food related but ironic enough to share was the young woman riding from NYC to Port Authority on the late evening bus that I was on. She carried on with a very loud 30 minute monologue on here cell phone about how all men were dogs and her soon-to-be-ex boyfriend was the slimiest one of all. Throughout the entire conversations she was reading Brides Magazine. :wacko:

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I think requesting that cell phone conversations be carried on in hushed tones makes about as much sense as asking everyone to start whispering in face to face conversations. Less sense in fact, considering it's harder to understand someone over the phone. Is there something about hearing a one-sided conversation that drives people nuts? Curiosity, maybe?

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woman riding from NYC to Port Authority on the late evening bus that I was on. She carried on with a very loud 30 minute monologue on here cell phone about how all men were dogs and her soon-to-be-ex boyfriend was the slimiest one of all. Throughout the entire conversations she was reading Brides Magazine. :wacko:

It's nice to know she still has hopes of finding Mr. Right! :wacko:

KathyM

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Is there something about hearing a one-sided conversation that drives people nuts? Curiosity, maybe?

Yes.

If you are part of the group it is just plain rude.

If you are not part of the group, it is probably curiosity.

In a restaurant, either of the two above is a distraction from what should be a communal experience of the group at the table, or at least the right in a public place to not be annoyed by the boob at the next table.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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or at least the right in a public place to not be annoyed by the boob at the next table.

you have a "right" to not be annoyed? if the person on the phone isn't in your group i suggest you exercise that right and get on with your meal. :laugh:

Absolutely, Tommy. And next time I see you sitting quietly, reading or chatting with a friend or simply watching the day go by, I will blast my choice of music -- I'm thinking something from an Up With People compilation, or maybe the Little Alvin and the Chipmunks Christmas album :biggrin: -- top volume. Because, after all, what I want to do is the only think that counts, and the fact that you are sharing my space -- maybe because you're in the middle of a meal, or because you're in the same subway car, or even because you are walking down the street with the assanine assumption that nobody will be so rude and self-absorbed as to inflict their personal choices on everybody else in the vicinity -- anyway, the fact that you are sharing my space will be just tough darts.

So you don't feel that anyone has any obligation of courtesy toward the people around them, at least as regards cell-phone use (and, from an earlier thread, the use of flash-cameras in restaurants). Do you feel there is any obligation of courtesy whatsoever? If I feel like merrily peeing on your trousers, can I do so, or do you have a "right" to sit in a restaurant/walk down the street without being sprinkled with others' effluvia? If, while you're sunk in conversation in a restaurant, I feel like repeatedly screaming "MUSHROOM!!!!" in your left ear, may I do so? Or do I have some kind of obligation to refrain?

Edited by mags (log)
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mags, i agree that this is a spot on analogy assuming the boob at the next table is blasting a Chipmunks album into his/her cellphone. :wink:

just to be clear, i was referring to fifi's post referring to one-sided conversations being annoying. i don't know if people get annoyed if there's a deaf person reading someone's lips as well, but i would hope not.

Edited by tommy (log)
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I think requesting that cell phone conversations be carried on in hushed tones makes about as much sense as asking everyone to start whispering in face to face conversations. Less sense in fact, considering it's harder to understand someone over the phone. Is there something about hearing a one-sided conversation that drives people nuts? Curiosity, maybe?

Part of my point was that cell-phone conversations should not BE conversations, unless the speaker stands no chance of inflicting that conversation on other people.

As for their being hushed, when you are inconveniencing others -- when you have to squeeze sqeeze through a row of seated movie-watchers to get back to your seat after a run to the popcorn stand, for example -- do you make any effort to minimize the inconvenience you're causing? Or do you just push past, stepping on toes, hailing your friend with victorious abandon, spraying the assembled throng with chewed bits of popcorn and dribbles of Diet Coke?

The point is to take care of what you need to do -- get back to your seat, tell your friend you'll be half an hour late, whatever -- while causing the least possible inconvenience to the folks around you.

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:biggrin: The worst case of cell-phone abuse I encountered was a few years ago, when I was walking down the street followed by a guy who was having a loud conversation with what had to be either his mother or his gastro-enterologist, since nobody else in the world could possbly have been interested in the number of times he had vomited over the previous week, or the color, texture, and aroma of the vomit in question. I know I wasn't.
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I get your point, but I guess I just don't agree with it.  I don't consider other people having conversations, one sided or not, as being an inconvenience to me.

Kate is hereby nominated for sainthood :hmmm:

LOL :biggrin:

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Seemed to remember something about the Hong Kong opera having a cell phone jammer... remains to be seen if they make an affordable model for homes or restaurants. You could bring it to the restaurnt in your purse or briefcase and voila... no more interruptions.. from ANYONE.

http://edition.cnn.com/2001/BUSINESS/asia/...a.cellphonejam/

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I get your point, but I guess I just don't agree with it.  I don't consider other people having conversations, one sided or not, as being an inconvenience to me.

I think the problem with cell phoners in public places isn't that they're having a conversation, but that people talk louder on a cell in order to be understood. Obviously at a restaurant you're surrounded by people having conversations. Most times that isn't a problem. If and when cell phone technology develops to the point at which you can murmur into a phone, or even speak at a normal pitch, and still be easily understood, then I won't have a problem with their use in public places.

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You could bring it to the restaurnt in your purse or briefcase and voila... no more interruptions.. from ANYONE.

no interruptions from babysitters, sick mom going to the hospital, etc.

that's a touchy issue and one that has been discussed around here, with predictable results, earlier on. but i'm certainly in agreement that cell phones should be turned off when going to the theater, movies, opera, etc.

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If and when cell phone technology develops to the point at which you can murmur into a phone, or even speak at a normal pitch, and still be easily understood, then I won't have a problem with their use in public places.

i think people will always talk louder into a cell phone, or at least for a while after technology makes it unnecessary (although i think an argument could be made that it's not necessary even at this point). it will take years for that to change. it's new, it's human nature, it's tough to get around. the more aware of us are cognizant of our volume...most of the time. :biggrin:

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If and when cell phone technology develops to the point at which you can murmur into a phone, or even speak at a normal pitch, and still be easily understood, then I won't have a problem with their use in public places.

i think people will always talk louder into a cell phone, or at least for a while after technology makes it unnecessary (although i think an argument could be made that it's not necessary even at this point). it will take years for that to change. it's new, it's human nature, it's tough to get around. the more aware of us are cognizant of our volume...most of the time. :biggrin:

<happily peeing on Tommy's pants>

<believe me, if I were able to aim that well, it would indeed be new technology>

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<happily peeing on Tommy's pants>

<believe me, if I were able to aim that well, it would indeed be new technology>

i meant that it's not necessary to talk loudly into cell phones as it is, as they're pretty good usually.

you may pee on my pants, but please don't tell me it's raining. i'm beggin' ya here.

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i think people will always talk louder into a cell phone, or at least for a while after technology makes it unnecessary (although i think an argument could be made that it's not necessary even at this point). it will take years for that to change. it's new, it's human nature, it's tough to get around. the more aware of us are cognizant of our volume...most of the time. :biggrin:

I don't know about that. I mean, I talk louder into my cell phone than into a regular phone; but then, I have a crappy cell phone. My experience has been that people with the little earphones talk more quietly, which makes me think that voice volume is a function of how well you can hear, rather than how well your interlocutor can hear you, or an aspect of human nature.

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