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Cell Phone Manners


Holly Moore
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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.

And I guess that's really it, isn't it? Just as you point out, "other people having conversations," assuming that they're carried on in one's normal voice and regarding topics suitable for crowds of strangers, are rarely seen as an "inconvenience" to those around them. I know I personally don't see them as such.

But that's not what we're discussing.

The problems with cell phones are: a.) ringing buzzers, bips, bells and beeps and annoying tunes such as college fight songs and never-ending variations on Fur Elise (a melody I used to love); b.) hollering loudly such repetitious phrases as, "Are you there?" "Hello? HELLO?" "Did you get that?" "What did you say?" "I only got part of it; what was that last bit?" and the much-loved immortal classic, "Can you hear me now?"; and, c.) discussing in booming tones the intimate details of your illnesses, sex life, husband/wife's affair, obscenity-laced problems with bosses, boyfriends, the bitch that got the job/stole him, what stocks you should purchase/sell, who betrayed you/ratted you out to whom, etc.

And not long ago, I was enjoying my lunch when I became aware of someone at an adjacent table paying for something via their cell phone. I heard every word, including each digit of their credit card number complete with expiration date, billing address and name-exactly-as-it-appears-on-the-card.

Not that that was particularly unpleasant for me, especially since I just had heard this exact same fellow discussing the results of several previous lab tests. But it is a telling insight into the degree of thought that some folks give to what they are saying and how they are saying it when they are in a public place and carrying on what should be a private conversation.

Edited by Jaymes (log)

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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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).

Yeah, it's totally not necessary at this point. Unless there's a bus starting up next to you while you're trying to talk, generally speaking people can hear you fine if you speak at normal or even slightly quieter volume on a cell phone. People just speak loudly because the phone speaker is loud in their ear and they naturally respond in kind.

This conversation comes up several times a month in various forums I read. It's always divided into several groups:

1. People who talk on cell phones in restaurants are SO RUDE, my god!

2. It's just a sign of society's going to hell in a handbasket! soon we'll lapse into the anarchy and ineffectiveness that made neanderthal man lose out to homo erectus!

3. Here's my passive-aggressive ways of making people shut up by being annoying too!

4. I spent $200 on one of those jammer devices!

5. Hell in a handbasket I tells ya! Parenting! self-absorption! let's get back to the days of daily beatings for children!

And so on.

I mean, let's face it, self-absorbed assholes are going to be self-absorbed assholes whether or not they have a cell phone on their ear. They're the same people who will have loud screeching conversations in restaurants with their dining partners, and if they're eating alone, they'll probably whistle tunelessly or fart while walking by your table.

There's always going to be people who push your buttons and get on your nerves in public. The only way to avoid them is to stay home. Sometimes I think we all should take a step back and just let it go already. Cell phones aren't going anywhere--and if you think they're annoying now? Nextel has started aggressively marketing to consumers rather than businesses in the last year or so, so more and more people have the walkie-talkie feature. So if y'all get this worked up now, you'd best get to the doctor for blood pressure medicine before your delicate senses are assaulted by:

<chirrp>you there?

<chirrp>yeah, what's up? i'm out to dinner

<chirrp>what you havin?

<chirrp>chicken, some kind of tarragon wine reduction thing. it's pretty good.

<chirrp>yeah, wish i had some. i only had wendy's tonight.

<chirrp>wendy's? dude that sucks.

<chirrp>yeah, well, you know, i was on the road and only had a few minutes. played hell with my bowels, though.

<chirrp>really?

<chirrp>yeah man, you know that skanktacular gas station over off of the boulevard? i had to stop there to...

<chirrp>aw come on man, i'm trying to eat here!

Oh well, not that it matters anyway; like the "no one has table manners anymore" topic or the "don't you hate it when people cook food the way you don't like it" topics, this thread will reappear in a month.

Edit: P.S. Don't anyone take this personally, OK? I'm just pointing out some archetypes that I repeatedly see when this conversation takes place--and I TOTALLY understand the cathartic value of being able to vent in public on a board like this, or usenet, or on a blog, or wherever.

Edited by mrbigjas (log)
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...and I TOTALLY understand the cathartic value of being able to vent in public on a board like this, or usenet, or on a blog, or wherever.

Actually, it's more than that. Much more. There is a great deal of value in discussing these things beyond the obvious merely cathartic. In fact, I'd even go so far as to say it's a necessity.

When new technology is invented, a civil society must set about establishing some commonly-held practices -- "manners" if you will -- regarding its use. Although it's true, as you say, that "self-absorbed assholes are going to be self-absorbed assholes," the general populace that works hard not to be included in the "self-absorbed asshole" category needs to sort out these things. Hash them out. Talk them over. Determine what is acceptable. What is not. What is just fine. What makes one person "rude." And another "anal." And why.

What should be dealt with. And what should be overlooked.

It's just part of trying to figure out how best to weave our way in and out of each other's lives. We have to occupy the same space, and it's a help if we can do that with as much grace, kindness, courtesy and thought as possible.

Edited by Jaymes (log)

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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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).

Yeah, it's totally not necessary at this point. Unless there's a bus starting up next to you while you're trying to talk, generally speaking people can hear you fine if you speak at normal or even slightly quieter volume on a cell phone. People just speak loudly because the phone speaker is loud in their ear and they naturally respond in kind.

we agree. and someone else suggests that phones aren't loud enough and that's why people talk loud.

i wonder what the facts are? i'm tempted to agree with your 5 points as well. all 5 of them plus the etc.

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When new technology is invented, a civil society must set about establishing some commonly-held practices -- "manners" if you will -- regarding its use. Although it's true, as you say, that "self-absorbed assholes are going to be self-absorbed assholes," the general populace that works hard not to be included in the "self-absorbed asshole" category needs to sort out these things. Hash them out. Talk them over. Determine what is acceptable. What is not. What is just fine. What makes one person "rude." And another "anal." And why.

What should be dealt with. And what should be overlooked.

It's just part of trying to figure out how best to weave our way in and out of each other's lives. We have to occupy the same space, and it's a help if we can do that with as much grace, kindness, courtesy and thought as possible.

Emphasis mine.

I think that Jaymes has eloquently expressed where we are on this subject. Now all I have to do is to convey that idea to my sister and friends that don't have a clue. :wacko:

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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One thing all of us can do is politely cut conversations short when the other person is on a cell phone in a place where there's a captive audience, such as on a bus or subway or in line at the post office. My ex-girlfriend has no land line, only a cell phone. Whenever I found out I was speaking to her while she was in such a place, I would make the conversation quick and indicate that I was cutting it short out of respect for the others and looked forward to talking to her later. She has never held it against me.

But tommy's point about volume is also well taken. I never have any beef with someone who has a cell phone conversation on the bus that is almost inaudible to other passengers. The worst is "GUESS WHAT?! I'M ON THE BUS!!" Yeah, you and 35 other people know that. Now, shut up! My main beef with cell phone conversations is that, even if they are not so loud as to be unpleasant purely in terms of volume, they are usually boring.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Cell phones are an incredible example of how big business created a "need." I think it is successful beyond even their own wildest dreams. People really think they need the damn things, all the time.

I find that a lot of the differences in how we react to cell phones have to do with how old we are. (This is a completely unscientific, subjective observation.) People in their 20s, for the most part, see cell phones as a regular part of their lives, since they always had them as young adults and adults. My friends' kids just don't get why older people are so upset about the whole thing.

The progression of telephone usage is interesting. The neighborhood store used to be the only place to have a phone, and it was used only in cases of absolute necessity. Then maybe there would be one phone in an apartment building. It's only fairly recently that we've been using phones to "chat" even if there's no emergency. When I was a kid my parents would yell at us if we called someone in Brooklyn, because it was considered "long distance" (we lived in the Bronx, and I'm 49.) So the idea of everyone carrying a phone around in their back pockets is really quite revolutionary, in many ways.

I am always struck by one particular thing regarding cell phones: how completely incapable people have become to just sit by themselves quietly. It seems that people have no capacity to be alone, even for a few minutes at a time. A lot of the nonsense cell phone talk reflects this. Last night I was in a restaurant (with friends, not alone, but not one of us used cell phones at all). There was a couple at a nearby table. One of them got up, I guess to go to the bathroom. The other immediately pulled out his cell phone and started talking (fairly loudly), just chatting. It was like he had no capability to sit by himself for the five minutes his friend was not there. I'm not sure what to make of it when people show no capability of being with themselves, and that is one of the main things I see with cell phone users.

Just another way of looking at things.

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I am always struck by one particular thing regarding cell phones: how completely incapable people have become to just sit by themselves quietly. It seems that people have no capacity to be alone, even for a few minutes at a time. A lot of the nonsense cell phone talk reflects this. Last night I was in a restaurant (with friends, not alone, but not one of us used cell phones at all). There was a couple at a nearby table. One of them got up, I guess to go to the bathroom. The other immediately pulled out his cell phone and started talking (fairly loudly), just chatting. It was like he had no capability to sit by himself for the five minutes his friend was not there. I'm not sure what to make of it when people show no capability of being with themselves, and that is one of the main things I see with cell phone users.

I couldn't have said this better myself. I've been saying the same thing for ages.

There's another thing that bothers me about cell phones. It's not just having to hear people prattle on, but it's that you're always expected to be available. If someone can't reach you right then and there they get annoyed. We seem to have lost control over our own lives.

"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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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).

Yeah, it's totally not necessary at this point. Unless there's a bus starting up next to you while you're trying to talk, generally speaking people can hear you fine if you speak at normal or even slightly quieter volume on a cell phone. People just speak loudly because the phone speaker is loud in their ear and they naturally respond in kind.

we agree. and someone else suggests that phones aren't loud enough and that's why people talk loud.

i wonder what the facts are? i'm tempted to agree with your 5 points as well. all 5 of them plus the etc.

Give in to temptation, tommy.

Basically I agree with Jaymes as well, about trying to get along, being courteous, etc. I know I try to, despite being a native-born Philadelphian.

I'm just saying, there are lots and lots of people out there who just don't give a shit, and there always will be. And we can freak out about them, or we can try to suck it up and deal.

Or we can do both--suck it up and deal, AND vent about them on message boards/blogs/websites. Because by being equally obnoxious in response, it might give us momentary satisfaction, but it's not going to change people's behavior.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go figure out how to make my phone play Reign in Blood by Slayer whenever someone calls.

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Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go figure out how to make my phone play Reign in Blood by Slayer whenever someone calls.

:laugh::laugh::laugh:

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Dude, I live for momentary satisfaction.

Are you my ex-husband -- posting under another name? :unsure:

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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$200 bucks for a jammer? I am so there! I guess peace and quiet does have a price.........and a market!!

I'm a canning clean freak because there's no sorry large enough to cover the, "Oops! I gave you botulism" regrets.

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I am always struck by one particular thing regarding cell phones: how completely incapable people have become to just sit by themselves quietly. It seems that people have no capacity to be alone, even for a few minutes at a time. A lot of the nonsense cell phone talk reflects this... I'm not sure what to make of it when people show no capability of being with themselves, and that is one of the main things I see with cell phone users.

Very nicely stated! There are tons of times that I wish I could leave without my cell phone, so that I'm not bothered by my family who wonder, "why are you out of your room, you should be doing work," and all that stuff (which relates to blov's statement,

There's another thing that bothers me about cell phones. It's not just having to hear people prattle on, but it's that you're always expected to be available. If someone can't reach you right then and there they get annoyed. We seem to have lost control over our own lives.

Indians lose control of their lives early on in life.)

Anyway, like I said, I wish I could leave the celly at home, but I'll always have it on me should I walk down a dark alleyway and something scary pops up behind me. I'm paranoid, but if I have my phone, I know that I have some modicum of safety on me.

And, a story: one time on a train, v. early in the morning, a guy starts yapping on his phone. It wasn't too loud, but the rest of the train was in a kind of nappy stupor. What woke us all up was another guy who yelled with every ounce of power he had, "TAKE IT TO THE OFFICE!" That was freakin' scary.

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And, a story: one time on a train, v. early in the morning, a guy starts yapping on his phone. It wasn't too loud, but the rest of the train was in a kind of nappy stupor. What woke us all up was another guy who yelled with every ounce of power he had, "TAKE IT TO THE OFFICE!" That was freakin' scary.

:biggrin:

My new hero.

:wub:

Me, I vote for the joyride every time.

-- 2/19/2004

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

Yes. Humans understand language and dialog at a very deep instinctual level, and when you only hear half of a conversation your brain goes nuts trying to figure out the other half.

http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20040412.html

Thankfully, most people now have more courtesy, as being the person w/the cell phone is not a status symbol.

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I, too, need to confess.

I love my cell phone. I use it all the time. Even *gasp* in restaurants.

I enjoy dining by myself a few times a week, and that is usually a good time for me to confirm plans with friends for the rest of the day.

Whenever I enter a restaurant, my phone is on vibrate, and when I am on it, I talk as if I was talking to someone else at my table. If that bothers people, there's only so much I can do about it. (Except for the fun, "Oh, you just broke your leg? How horrible! Oh, dinner tonight at Mick's? Sounds fine." type of conversation.)

I almost never answer a call when I am dining with someone, unless we both know the call is coming (a third friend trying to meet up, or to arrange later plans).

I do not have a house line, my cell phone is my only contact, and I like to be available very nearly 24/7. Yes, I do know that this is a very modern idea; back in the day, you would have to set up stuff way in advance, as there was basically no way to get in touch with someone other than personally talking with them.

I greatly appreciate modern technology, and try and keep myself from annoying others. I am in italy now, and my home cell does not work here, so I am forced to use an ancient motorola here, that does not have a vibrate feature, and the ring is extremely shrill.

I was extremely nervous the other day when I was in Rome, and I very much was waiting on a call from a friend of mine (who needed to get in touch with me as soon as she got to rome.)

I had to place the phone on the table, and every second was aware of the fact that it would ring any second. When it did ring, I answered it before the first ring was through, and quickly ducked outside. (Even doing all of this, I still felt rude and got many nasty looks from the other diners.)

This is the compromise I have made, basically. If I am expecting a call, it won't stop me from enjoying my meal (ie. i could have eaten a pizza outside on the sidewalk, but I would rather have eaten inside.), but I will try not to disturb the other diners as much as possible.

Other than at concerts and the like, I don't think I have ever done the one-hand-to-ear-shouting-into-cell-phone game in a restaurant. (And when I go to extremely upscale restaurants, the cell phone stays off. You can leave a message. Everything I just spoke about applies to places where you can eat for $30 or less, and in shorts.)

About the cell phone jammers: I do believe they are highly illegal to use in public, for the same reason that was stated before - it could potentially block emergency calls.

And by the way, I do think those walkie talkie phones are bad form, except for someone on, say, a construction site, or a taxi driver. To use them in really any public situation is just saying "listen to me, im a dolt!"

Thats my take on the subject.

Andrew Baber

True I got more fans than the average man but not enough loot to last me

to the end of the week, I live by the beat like you live check to check

If you don't move yo' feet then I don't eat, so we like neck to neck

A-T-L, Georgia, what we do for ya?

The Gentleman Gourmand

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The phone jammers are illegal in many parts of Europe, they constitute a broadcast and that is regulated over here.

A nearby cinema had to remove theirs.

I think the issue here becomes really clear when you combine New Yorkers with a cell phone.

Crowded uptown R - two female straphangers "Do you know what he gave her, did you hear? A f***ing Corvette. I'd b*** him every day for one of those". Cue the lowering of a dozen New York Times.

Now that scene was, well whatever you think about it, funny in my mind. And somehow quite, uh... human. And pretty well everyone in the subway car thought 'only here', lifted their papers back up and went on with their day. I don't think anyone was irritated. Well, maybe...

But if she had been on a cell, I'd have changed cars.

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  • 6 years later...

I ordered a gizmo from China. It arrived in 7 days labeled "RF router". It routes cell calls, loud unanswered ring tones, walkie talkie chirps and speaker phone conversations right out of my store. While it is designed for continuous duty, we use it judiciously, few seconds at a time only when I can't hear me now!!

"RF router", $299

Watching an idiot scratching his head while he stares at his phone wondering why he can't yell at his wife any longer, priceless.

Can you hear me now?

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Nothing annoys me more in a restaurant than watching a parent spending his or her dinner with the family on a crackberry. Put the fraking thing away and enjoy some quality family time!

Regarding those who make calls from the bathroom. I once heard a guy in a stall talking on his cell phone, so I said, "man that chili burns on both ends, got any extra toilet paper over there?". I quickly ran from the loo after that one. :D

Dan

"Salt is born of the purest of parents: the sun and the sea." --Pythagoras.

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