Do you know what I miss? I miss the days when we used to be tethered to a box by a wire to be able to talk on the phone. In the days before cell phones, a telephone call in public was somewhat of a private matter.
You went to this special area, an area where you can make a phone call. You never saw people gathered around a phone cubicle in the airport, in fact, if you notice the next time your at the airport or the bus station, there usually is a special area for phone calls. Chairs are nowhere near the special phone area, because, well, it is a special area for making phone calls.
Whatever happened to that thought process? Recently I was in a rest room sitting in the stall minding my own business. I hear someone come in, some shuffling takes place, and he occupies the stall next to me. After he settles in, so to speak, in a loud voice he says, “What’s happening my man?” My head snaps up instantly like I was poked with a stick. Just as I start to respond, he continues with his conversation, ON THE PHONE.
Are you serious? Is nothing sacred? A phone conversation in the stall? What in the world could be so important that it can’t wait until you take care of your business?
So I had to sit there and endure a conversation he was having with a friend. I didn’t go in there to enter a chat room. I had to go to the bathroom.
Another instance stands out in my mind, because I actually I had to get up and relocate before I lost my mind. I’m in the airport, again, and I’m sitting in the gate waiting area. I barricade myself with my carry-on luggage, and I’m buried in a good book, calmly waiting for my flight. The vibe I am putting out is clear. I don’t want conversation, I don’t want to be bothered. I just want to sit here by myself and read my book. My subliminal message to all wouldn’t have been any clearer if I hung up a sign that said, “Don’t bother me.”
So as luck would have it, this young woman squeezes by me, sets up camp directly across from me, goes through the ordeal of searching for her phone, finds it and proceeds to call everyone on her speed dial, and says in the most annoying sing songy voice you can imagine the same thing. “Hi, I’m at the airport. Guess what? (voice rises) I just got engaged!” Moments of giggling pass, she hangs up and calls the next person. “Hi, I’m at the airport. Guess what? (voice rises) I just got engaged.” She is literally 4 feet from me. After about 4 or 5 of these calls I lost my place in my book because I was concentrating only on stopping myself from tapping her on the shoulder and saying, “Hi, guess what? Your annoying the hell out of me.”
This brings me to the subject of, yes; you guessed it, phone etiquette. You know what? There is no such thing. But there should be.
If I was elected President, on day one I would put into effect the following rules. Poverty, Health care and education would have to wait. I’m tackling this obnoxious cell phone user epidemic. Here are some rules;
1. If your within 2 arm lengths of another person, you need to distance yourself by 2 more arm lengths before you answer or make a call
2. If you’re in a checkout line of any store, and your holding a conversation on the phone while trying to pay and get change..you pay double.
3. If your caught driving through a round-about with one hand, while the other hand is holding the cell to your ear…you loose your license for a year.
4. If you and I are in an intense conversation about, say, Global warming, and your phone rings and you ignore me and answer it…I can take it from you and throw it against the wall.
5. If you walk around with a blue tooth shaped thing strapped to your ear, you can’t talk to me…..you look stupid
It’s very simple to me. If we’re chatting and your phone rings, you CAN glance at the number and make a mental note that you need to return that call, but in the meantime we continue on with our very interesting conversation.
While eating in the galley the other day, one of my fellow crew members received a call. Instead of getting up and taking the call, he answered it and kept on eating, with the rest of us. We all learned that his horse got crazy back on the farm, tried to make a break for it and cut his leg bad when he took out the fence. They had to call a vet.
You know what? I don’t care.