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Cell Phone - A Necessity Yes, Not a License To Be Rude

With the exception of the terminally shy person, we all need to communicate with other people. And cell phones? They’re everywhere now. We can hardly do without them. Not that we can’t do something about our priorities, especially our frequent lack of courtesy. Noise pollution follows us wherever we go, so we all have tales of great annoyance to report. And we won’t even get into the topic of people who talk on the phone while driving a car or truck in heavy traffic. They so infuriate me, as I try to keep away from them, that I will leave that topic for someone else. It used to be that people presumably talking to themselves were given a wide berth by passers-by. Nowadays you can walk along, presumably talking to yourself and, depending on where you are, no one makes fun of you. However, along with any new freedom, there are major responsibilities:
  1. People generally don’t ridicule the person walking down the street and talking into the air, even when that grey wire snaking out of a jacket pocket is hard to see. On the other hand, irritated bystanders are likely to snarl instead. They may let you know in a number of ways that you are interrupting their only time of peace and quiet.

    A typical example of garden-variety rudeness is this. While waiting in line at the post office this weekend, we all had to put up with someone yakking on a cell phone in the post office lobby, where sound is amplified. None of us were interested in his personal business, or his scolding of whoever was on the other end of the line. It may have been a business associate, friend or family member.

    However, it sounded as though he wasn’t going to have the person in his social circle very much longer, given the timbre of his rantings. With only a few seconds of thought, the man could have taken himself outdoors, and saved everyone else’s ears, temper, and nerves. He wasn’t there to buy stamps, just to check the contents of his post office box, which probably took him at least 25 minutes longer than it should have done.

  2. A cell phone is within the budgetary reach of most working people, most of the time. As wonderful as cell phones are, literally lifesavers many times over, they come at a cost. In the 1980s in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and other westernized nations, mobile phones were the privilege of the executive, the doctor, and a few other select professionals. With a few heavyweight exceptions, they could only be used in the car or truck.

    Personally, I’m glad that mobile phones are no longer the province of the elite. Each human being is entitled to whatever advances he can earn and that modern miracles can supply. As usual, however, technology has advanced faster than society could formulate the ethics to go along with it. That is, just because we can now use cell phones to talk any time, anywhere, does not mean that we should. Yet, people just jumped on the bandwagon, and now we can’t shut them up. Even when cell phones interfere with critical hospital equipment, selfish, supposedly educated people haul them out of their pockets and handbags anyway. Perhaps they could be prosecuted for causing harm to a patient undergoing a critical procedure.

    Sometimes, incoming hospital patients slip a cell phone past Admissions staff, and then sit in or on their beds, yakking away, until busy nurses catch them at it. It used to be that such rude people just picked up one of the room phones to talk for hours, if they were well off and wanted to be inconsiderate. They simply don’t care if the patient behind the curtain in the shared room is recovering from earlier surgery, or is otherwise very ill.

  3. Not to be scatological, but a very annoying habit of cell phone users is in public restrooms, especially at work. You can seldom use the restroom without someone being in one of the stalls and answering a call on their cell phone or Blackberry, at the same time they’re answering the call of nature.

    Even more annoying is when someone sits in a stall for quite some time, making outgoing calls on the cell phone. Such activity is often followed half an hour later, by a broadcast e-mail to the entire company that begins, “If anyone has seen a Nokia…blah, blah, I left it in the ladies’ restroom at the northwest corner of the building.” A variation is “If anyone has lost a Motorola…, please call 1234 and identify the case and the phone.”

Maybe we can all just shut up once in a while. Talking any time, anywhere, really isn’t OK.

About the Author:
Shirley Ann Parker is a full-time technical writer. She is also the author of Discoveries: A Journey Through Life, a delightful collection of short stories about the joys and frustrations of family life and friendships. Discoveries is available from , where, with any 5-book purchase, you get a 40% discount on the order! Read more about Discoveries at , and see more of Shirley's creative work at

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