Do we really still need to talk about this? You’d think with over a decade of experience under our belts along with our inherent delusions of hyper sophistication that we’d have figured things out by now. But the sad truth remains: cell-phone douche-baggery is worse than ever! In terms of maturity levels, many of us rank amongst toddlers, interrupting anyone and anything with our loud nonsense, our little fingers obsessively pushing buttons with what’s left of our attention spans constantly distracted by various bells, whistles, and bright colors on tiny screens. This ridiculous need to be in touch with all people at all times is getting out of hand, and while we think we are staying more connected with each other, we are in fact treating those closest to us like China treated the Mongols. We’re building giant walls people! The following are basic cell phone rules of etiquette which people still can’t seem to follow. In fact, they should be called “How to use your common sense and remain polite in a human society.” Read them, learn them, and absorb them into your system as you would the vitamins from a mango smoothie.
1. Talking too loudly.
“YES! FOR THE LOVE OF BABY JESUS, WE CAN HEAR YOU NOW!” For some bizarre reason people feel the need to raise their voices while on their phones. I think we’ve come far enough, technologically speaking, to trust the phone’s microphone to adequately amplify and carry your voice. Your mouth couldn’t physically be any closer to the microphone, so unless you’re talking into it from a Captain Kirk distance or calling in an airstrike while under heavy machine gun fire, there’s no need to yell. Hell, even Kirk never raised his voice and he was communicating with an alcoholic Scotsman on a space ship!
Note: There are attention-seekers out there who speak loudly on purpose to “show off” recent accomplishments and victories to impress surrounding strangers. Do not hate on them too much, they were probably adopted and are cursed to constantly seek approval from anyone within earshot.
2. Holding inappropriate conversations in public.
No one needs to hear how wasted you were last night, or what color your boyfriend’s boxers were on the night the two of you, um, “played Scrabble.” Keep your personal conversations personal. If you don’t want people to see you crying in line at the bank or while ordering a stuffed-crust pizza, refrain from having emotional conversations in public. Offer to call the person back, step outside, or find a quiet place where you can openly and unabashedly describe your new foot fungus.
3. Rudely interrupting conversations.
Have you ever felt the only way to maintain a conversation with the person right in front of you is to give them a call? Ever arrive at the climax of a hilarious story, only to have the momentum ruined by “Sorry, I gotta take this”? Why is the disembodied voice of someone else more important than the flesh and blood standing before you? It’s very frustrating to stand around waiting while your “friend,” date, or family member gets into a phone conversation on your time. When this happens, I recommend simply walking away. Even when you’re sitting in a restaurant, if your date would rather chat with someone else, then you should get up and leave immediately to find someone else. Or, as I mentioned earlier, call them on their other line. “Hey, how’s it going? How’s your sea bass? Isn’t the wine delicious?” If you can’t beat ‘em, call ‘em.
4. Checking your phone at the movies.
Movie theatre announcements and people who are quick to “shhhh” have done a decent job of reducing reducing cell phone rings over the years. But people are still checking their calls and text messaging rfiends, silently, but equally annoyingly. There’s a reason why we spend an arm and a leg to watch movies in the theatre. When the lights go out and the screen lights up, we try to forget our everyday troubles and we submerse ourselves into whatever the hell world we bought tickets for. We escape. But when out of the corner of our eyes we see someone’s entire face light up while they check their phone messages, we’re yanked right back to reality and are reminded of how many jerks per square foot there are in the world. Turn your phones off, have a little consideration for the people around you. The world won’t stop spinning if you’re unavailable for 2 hours. “But what if there’s an emergency?” The odds of an actual emergency occurring are astronomical. Besides, if there was an emergency, it already happened. You already weren’t there, and chances are the people who could actually do anything about it, already have.
5. Texting while driving.
Somebody please get the “Darwin Awards” on the phone. Of course, if you’re driving when you do, make sure you’re on hands free or have pulled over before you start explaining how there are people who send texts while behind the wheel of a vehicle. According to a Harvard University study, cell phones cause over 200 deaths and half a million injuries each year. And that’s with eyes on the road! Laws are in place to make sure people aren’t talking on their phones, and yet people are typing?!?! (I very rarely use the double question mark with the double exclamation point at the end of sentences, but this is ridiculous) I would love to see the tombstone: Was LOL when he WCTTFW (Went crashing through the freaking windshield) Anyone caught texting while driving should be stripped of their driving license forever.
6. Texting while talking.
You ever have someone try to listen to your story while text messaging someone else? You want to give them points for making the effort as they clumsily insert “oh yeahs” and “un huhs” at all the wrong moments, cutting you off mid-sentence with a “no way” as they furiously thumb type in your face, but at the same time you want to volleyball spike their phone to the ground for being unbelievably rude. A third option is tell better stories.
7. Texting small talk.
Does our friendship mean nothing? Have we become so lazy and disinterested in each other’s lives that we’re asking people to sum up their days with a text? “How r u?” “What’s up?” “What’s new?” These arbitrary questions are annoying enough when asked in person, but at least we have the ability to fire back equally insignificant responses in one second or less. But expecting people to waste their time typing “not bad, u?” or “same sh*t” or heaven forbid “let me tell you about my day” is about as lame and pointless as your appendix.
8. Loud and annoying ringtones.
I was riding the bus to work one morning, when out of nowhere the silence was shattered with screaming. It was the type of scream a frat boy lets out when a serial killer is in the process of gutting him with a fountain pen. I just about had a cardiac arrest and many of the people on the bus jumped out of their seats. It was only when the repetitive screaming suddenly tripled in volume that we all discovered the culprit: a cell phone. Some jerk pulled the phone out of his pocket, embarrassed at how loud it was, and accidentally dropped it on the bus floor. The joke now on him, the whole bus watched in amusement as this dude’s face grew redder and redder, scrambling to pick up and silence the screams coming from his phone. While there are far too many stupid ringtones out there to mention here, the story makes the point: turn down your stupid ringtone! No one thinks you’re clever, or funny, or musically savvy when you’re little pocket jukebox interrupts their thoughts. That guy on the bus probably thought his scream-tone was hysterical, but the looks on everyone else’s face read loud and clear: “What a douche bag!”
9. Disturbing live performances.
Comedy shows, concerts, plays etc…Nothing boils my blood more than having art ruined by a ringing cell phone. I nearly gave a security guard a standing ovation when he grabbed a gentleman by the collar and escorted him out of a Cirque du Soleil show for having his cell phone go off during a particularly dangerous acrobatic stunt. You ruin someone’s comedy act or interrupt an actor on stage, in turn spoiling the experience for everyone around you who’s spent their hard earned money on a night out, and you’re an arrogant douche-monkey who should be put in the corner with the rest of the 5 year olds. But when you disturb a performer who’s very life depends on needle-point focus and concentration, you should be put in jail.
10. Location location location
There are countless locations where “taking the call” is inappropriate and extremely annoying to those around you. The first two off the top of my head as the most frustrating are in libraries, and fast food restaurant lines. One of the last places on earth, aside from an empty church or your own bathroom, where people can go to read, think, and study in silence, is under attack by people who refuse to disconnect from the outside world. Does the word SSSSHHHHH mean nothing to you? Take the call outside, before someone throws “War and Peace” or Stephen King’s “It” at your head.
While ordering food, there’s no need to explain how annoying a phone call can be for both the restaurant staff and for the customers in line behind you. Check out how one Subway restaurant dealt with this problem. Again, if people are going to act like children we need to treat them like children. Well played Subway, well played.Found this Post interesting? Discover more Curious Reads.