Exploring cell-phone etiquette

Spike Farrell has started a bi-weekly column for Northglen News.
Spike Farrell.

SO what on earth did we do before cell phones took over our lives? Before we relied on them totally, so much in fact, that we check them once at least every six minutes on average, we just got on with our lives.

We just did, that’s all! Cell phones are useful, don’t get me wrong, cutting out unnecessary travel, checking on the kids, or looking for help in the case of an accident or breakdown, but like anything in life that has benefits, they also have a downside.

Let me tell you what drives me crazy about cell phones. A complete lack of “cell phone etiquette” That’s what! Imagine being in a restaurant with someone special, about to have lunch, then “beep-beep”. She received a SMS on her cell phone. She then proceeded to answer, and for the next 20 minutes or so, was completely engrossed in her cyber conversation, texting backwards and forwards.

Why was I there, why was I even bothering, I don’t know, but that is just one example of how cell phones take over your life excluding all and everything around you. And it’s not pleasant for the person with you. Talk about being a spare wheel.

Then once I was at another restaurant, and a woman at the next table had her cell in front of her, when it rang (most annoying ringtone) and she just ignored it. When asked why she didn’t pick up, she merely said, “I don’t want to answer it.”

This unleashed a chorus of shouts from the others at the restaurant who yelled “then turn it off.” She finally did, but really showed a complete lack of concern for all those around her. Shocking!

Another thing people don’t realize is that a cell has a very sensitive microphone, so you don’t have to bellow into it subjecting all around you to half of your conversation, a mere whisper is all that is required even if the person you are talking to is on top of Mount Everest, they can still hear you but people still do it, and scream into their phones, much to the annoyance of all in earshot not only in the same restaurant, but possibly in the next town too. It drives me crazy.

But it’s the abbreviations used in texting and twittering that has destroyed much of what holds society together.

Nothing actually beats face-to-face communication, eye contact is vitally important as it engenders trust and understanding. With texting, the nuances of conversation are completely lost, and from that comes misunderstandings and confusion.

Cell phones will probably be the cause of World War 3 one of these days. I’m not a big fan of texting even though I do it, so while I place both my texting thumbs in splints, and try to work out the abbreviation for “Put the supper in the oven, I’ll be home on time,” I’ll leave you with this thought, do you remember the peace of a cell-free world, I do, and I can’t make up my mind whether I miss it or not! Guess I’m just a grumpy old man!


About John: John AKA ‘Spike’ Farrell lives in the heart of uMhlanga. The author, broadcaster, news hound and man who penned a book on surviving marriage and divorce delves into the irritations of life that plague us. He has volunteered to be our resident social oberver in his bi-weekly column Does It Bug You Too? where the annoying issues of everyday life are explored.

John Farrell

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