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Friday, September 08, 2006

Cell Phones

Cell Phones

Yesterday, while walking to work, I heard the most peculiar sound of music coming from someone nearby. I then realized it was the new Britney Spears song, "Toxic." The gentlemen, yes that’s right, gentlemen in the nine hundred dollar suit, felt the need to have this tune play over and over again from his cell phone. It wasn’t simply someone calling him on this ridiculous ring; it seemed this man felt the need to have his own theme music on his morning commute to work. Hasn’t this cell phone nonsense gone on long enough?

Recently a man on the track at the YMCA dialed friends for an hour while running. Were these calls so vital that they had to be made during a workout? Another man was at the urinal at the Marriot Copley Place and talking on his cell phone with business papers under his arm. He looked at me and said that he was multi-tasking. Multi-tasking indeed!

It seems these days cell phones are as common as the telephone. Today, no one uses just a land phone. They need to page, text message, IM, email, or call while they are driving in their SUV.

To these people, I have one thing to say. Do cell phone users in public realize that they are not in a private phone booth or at home in a private environment when using their cell phone to others annoyance?

Should we now have to initiate laws about cell phone use in public as they have in autos? I wonder, do people talk on their cell phones during sex for technique instruction? Do you now bury a corpse with a cell phone to call from the beyond?

Because I am a man of action, I have a solution -- I believe that we should instill some classic Victorian etiquette for cell phone use. Primarily when one is on the phone in a public place, one should remember one rule – consideration!

Nancy Dunnan, author of Amy Vanderbilt’s Book of Etiquette (Harper/Collins), suggests these seven cell phone rules of etiquette –

Use your cell phone only when really necessary and keep your conversations brief.
Restrain yourself. You don’t need to tell your nearest and dearest that –
You’re pulling into the driveway
You’re just a block away
You’re heading for the restroom
Be wise. You should use your cell (or any other phone) if you –
Need to change plans at the last minute
Are stuck in a traffic jam
Will be late picking up your child
Forgot something truly important
Discover your train or plane has been canceled or delayed
Understand the technology. Cell phones are sophisticated. You don’t need to shout into yours. A normal voice level, even a very low level voice will reach the person at the other end.
Don’t try to compete with Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts and Steven Speilberg. Turn off your cell as soon as you enter a theater. The same holds true for the opera, ballet, philharmonic and museum.
Respect fellow diners. People reading the newspaper at breakfast want peace and quiet. Couples having dinner at Locke-Ober want privacy. Jumping on your cell phone and yakking away could ruin a well-planned marriage proposal.
Move it. When you need to make a call, remove yourself from the center of things. Make your calls away from your fellow travelers, diners, friends and strangers.
And, a word to the rest of the world… Don’t be shy about asking someone on a cell phone to lower their voice. But do it nicely. Suggest that they speak more quietly, move to another area and keep it brief. You have as much right to request quiet as the cell phone use has to make a call.

Remember that no one but you is interested in your conversation but you and the person you are talking to, so for the sanity of humanity follow these steps –

Never use your phone in these places –
Train, Amtrak or the T-the commute is bad enough, don’t make it worse
Waiting Rooms
Dressing Rooms – no one needs to know everything that you buy
Anywhere waiting in line – entertain yourself doing something else
Classrooms - text messaging during a class is simply immoral
g. Church – confessions are meant for your priest, not your mother, brother, boyfriend, credit-card Company, etc.

Don’t make calls in public places out of sheer boredom, or not multi-tasking enough. With all the chaos in our world today, there is something to be said for some silence to think, to reflect or simply to daydream. By being on your phone when it isn’t necessary, you are not only ruining that small moment of serenity for yourself, but anyone who has the unfortunate place of being near you.

No one ever needs to have a special ringer so that they feel like an individual. If you want to be original, state your opinions on things, don’t believe that “Toxic” will truly reflect your personality

Finally, if in doubt, turn it off!

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