Cell Phone Use that Crosses the Line

Remember when phones were just phones? Not so smart. Or when cell phones first came out and the few people who got them were kind of defensive about justifying their purchase. “I just got one to use in case of an emergency” was the usual explanation. Now, if you don’t have a cell phone you’re some kind of out of touch ol’ fogey who rather awkwardly must say why you’re still a hold-out.

Today’s phone is light year’s smarter than yesterday’s. Especially the current gold standard of status symbols, the iPhone. It’s so much more than just a phone of course. It’s pretty much a mini computer that can update you on the latest news, sports scores, weather, ups and downs of the stock market, movie times, and restaurant reviews, etc., etc. You can read your emails and write and send them. Nobody with a phone is ever at a loss for something to do. You can always amuse yourself by playing a game. There really is an app for almost anything you want to know or do. Need a good recipe to bake a killer cake? Isn’t this technology absolutely amazing , wonderful and downright mind boggling?

Maybe I’m just jealous because I don’t have an iPhone or drive a big fancy car imported from Detroit. But it seems to me that this technological wonder called a smart phone is doing an incredible job of nearly obliterating friendly face-to-face conversations and warm, close relationships. Our new sophisticated phones may be great devices to communicate, but are they really improving our communication? Where’s the balance between too much and too public and common sense.

For some reason, many people seem to talk louder when they’re using their cell phones. So their private conversation is hardly private. Can you hear me now? Not everyone in the vanpool or on the commuter bus, train or ferry wants to listen to someone else’s business. Some passengers just want to read their book or catch a few winks.

Just as annoying is the person who lives on their phone. It’s not so kosher to put someone on hold who called you or you called first so you can talk to someone else and keep the original caller dangling. Or worse, accept one call after another during a nice dinner instead of chatting with the person you happen to be with. Let’s not even go there about receiving, composing and sending text messages when you’re not by yourself. There’s a button on my simple phone to shut it off. Oh, I forgot, there could be an emergency.

There’s a lot of talk lately about our society’s overall lack of civility, and our use of technology certainly fits in the discussion. If someone wants to smoke or drink or use their cell phone, that’s completely up to him or her of course. But their use is not OK when it crosses the line and invades the space or comfort of others.

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