I have a pet peeve I just discovered. I was crammed along with a few other people on a bus ride when this woman’s cell phone just started ringing like a fast-approaching fire truck. The ascending Star Wars ringtone was like a tune of impending doom, compounded by the fact that we were all trying to stay away from each other’s nostrils and armpits.
I don’t know about you, but a two-hour jam-packed commute with someone’s obnoxiously loud ringtone as background music isn’t exactly my idea of a good morning, or good afternoon or evening for that matter. Why can’t people put their phone on vibrate or at least lower their phone’s volume when travelling?
Turns out I’m not the only one complaining about disruptive cell phones. The NY Philharmonic actually had to stop mid-performance until the cause of furor was effectively silenced. Upon doing so, Conductor Alan Gilbert sparked lively national debate about mobile phone etiquette, which seems to be going the way of non-existent ever since people have become increasingly glued to their handy gadgets like chewing gum on a shoe. What exactly are the things you shouldn’t be doing with your mobile? Non-America needs to be reminded now.
Installing loud MIDI ringtones
Please. We now have options. I don’t want to sound arrogant, but I’ll take the risk. If you need to take pleasure in your fake-sounding Star Wars theme (or any other annoying jingle), then tone it down, at least. Read your phone’s user manual. There’s a volume button there somewhere.
Talking to the other person on the line as if he were deaf
I’d be more forgiving if it was New Year’s Day or if you were Brad Pitt. But it’s just you, your phone, and a bunch of strangers who can’t help hearing about your rhinoplasty and other private details that they’d rather not hear. The word whisper is onomatopoeic and very practical to exercise in these situations. Or better yet, you can just take the call somewhere more feasible.
Texting or answering a call when you’re supposed to be listening
I’m sure you’ve had it happen. You’re in the middle of your great story when your friend’s phone bleeps and he tries to skillfully multi-task listening to you and texting on his phone. Unfortunately, his skills in this department are as fictional as Harry Potter. By the end of your date, you can’t even remember the last time he looked into your eyes during your short time together.
I understand that there are times when we have to answer emergency calls or SMS. Fine, you can quietly excuse yourself or ask for a second to reply to your public. Or, if you’re supposed to be busy with other people, you can subscribe to call routing functions from phone service providers like RingCentral and Google Voice, so calls can be conveniently forwarded to voicemail. The point is to show some respect to the people you’re physically with in actual real-time.
There was a time when we were told the value of looking into someone’s eyes and listening when someone else was talking. Phones are supposed to connect people. Don’t make them the cause for driving others away.
Image Credit : YourKidsed