Thursday, July 14, 2005

Hold On a Second, I've Got a Call...

I've been thinking about it lately, and I really, really hate cell phones.

I have one of my own, but it was forced on me by my parents. The only reason I agreed was because of the free long distance on nights and weekends, and because they were paying for it. As I'm sure many of my friends are painfully aware, I rarely pay attention to it, or keep it with me for that matter. There's a reason my voicemail message is "Hey, it's Amy. You know how much attention I pay to my cell phone." If I look at it, it's usually to make a call, because it's making some annoying beeping noise, or to use it as an alarm. I wish others would do the same.

I know I'm not the first person to note this, but cell phones have caused rampant rudeness. If two people are at a restaurant having a nice conversation, it would be incredibly ill-mannered for one of them to turn to another table mid-conversation and start chatting with someone new. But nowadays, cell-phoners do this on a regular basis. Perhaps even more exaggeratedly so, since they strike up new conversations with people who-knows-where.

When I was venting about this to someone the other day, they commented that perhaps this widespread cellular crudeness happened because the technology came around after the days of etiquette. Maybe so. We're certainly far less concerned about manners than our ancestors--less likely to take offense.

I can't quite decide if this evolution is a good thing. But I do know that technology should not interfere in our everyday lives as much as cell phones tend to. I talk with people and am blown off at the ring (or vibrate) of a phone. I go to concerts and have my view obstructed by people holding up their cell phones to let a friend hear the music, or to take pictures. Time is wasted in my classes reminding people to turn them off, or dealing with interrupting calls. Movies, plays, performances of any kind now feel the need to take time at the beginning of shows to tell people to turn them off.

It reminds me of junior high when every kid just had to have one of those virtual pets. They would bring it to class, where it would beep and buzz constantly, much to every teacher's delight. Those things eventually had to be banned. I wouldn't be at all surprised if many schools have banned cell phones.

I understand why we have them. They're absolutely wonderful in the case of an emergency. They can really come in handy in sometimes. But I see some people, and I'm amazed that their faces don't have permanent indendations where their phone goes. Since when was it impossible to live without a phone at your constant disposal?

I'm certainly not anti-technology. I went into withdrawl after 2 days without my computer and can't imagine life without it. And there certainly are people who have cell phones and use them politely, responsibly. But it seems like the large majority of the population is back in junior high, thrilled about their new toy, and insisting on taking it and using it everywhere.

You know, you can always call them back. It's ok to not answer sometimes.


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