Just some thoughts and ideas going around in my head while trying to figure out where I am and where everyone else is going.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Manners and the Cell Phone

Years and years ago, when Trailways was still in business or at least ran out of Philadelphia, I had gotten back from London and after noticing that everyone there seemed to have one, I decided to get a cell phone for myself.

I remember the Trailways thing because one of my first calls was done on the bus trip back from Boston to Philadelphia. The trip was one of those promotional deals done in order to save the company, $25 round trip for the Memorial Day weekend. I didn’t really want to go to Boston, but it was a hell of lot cheaper than the $500 plus that the airlines wanted to take me to Miami with a one-day advance purchase. Yes as usual I had left everything to the last minute and decided that I had had enough of the DC Memorial Day trips. No one told me at the time the trip to Bean Town would take 6 hours each way and have 2 sever cases of leg cramps.

Anyway, it was the Monday and I remember calling Larry and telling him that I would be arriving in Philly at around whatever time it was and that we should hang out and go to a club when I got there. When I hung up, a little girl who had been watching me came over and said that her mother, sitting behind me to my left would like to know if she could use my phone. I looked at the mother and thought the nerve of some people, doesn’t know me from a sack of shit but wants me to pay for her roaming charges, long distance charges and maybe even international charges if she calls Haiti or wherever she was from, (I’m bigoted that way sometimes, I don’t mean to be, but that’s how it is.) I shook my head and said “no” openly and “bitch” silently.

I bring this up only because I read earlier this week on MSNBC.com an article about the etiquette of cell phone use and how it has degraded the social interaction between many and left the rest of us angered or at least frustrated by the seeming lack of concern by the cell phone user for the privacy and comfort of those not engaged in their conversations.

Curtis is like that. If we are leaving the gym together and in the elevator, he will get on his phone and almost shout into it. Regardless of how many people are in there with us, he will talk, kee-kee and guffaw so loudly that I swear one time I felt the glass walls of the thing start to vibrate.

There was another time when a man on the Speedline, my commuter train, started to call his friend and tell him about his “I”-talian meal that he just had and had washed it down with a nice Chianti. He must have also caught an old movie too. He spoke of how he enjoyed himself until his friend on the other end must have told him that he was going to bed, it was about 9pm and they hung up. Then he called another friend and got to same point in the story when this one said that his wife was calling him and they hung up. And this continued and continued until he got to his station.

I would have felt sorry for this man’s friends having to put up with him, but they got to end their conversations. I and the rest of the passengers in the car heard the same story over and over again for at least 6 times word for word, and each time as clear as a bell even though we were about 20 feet apart. Everyone was starting to get annoyed. I guess like me they just wanted to get 20 minutes or so of peace and quiet after a long day and this bozo was intruding in it.

Speaking of peace and quiet, have you ever travelled on Amtrak along the Northeastern Corridor? Some trains now have a quiet car at the end where conversations and cell phones are forbidden and all electronics must be in the mute mode in order to enhance the ride and joy of their fellow passengers. I love it and try to find it whenever I am on Amtrak.

As for the movies, I won’t even get into the amount of times that I used to hear cells phones ring and conversations start when I was at there. Although now, I have learned to avoid certain places and stay away from those elements that exasperate me. That’s code for me being “Bougie” even though I’m not sure bougie is what really describes me.

A few years ago I was on my cell phone and telling, well he never reads this, Lamont my plans for the weekend.
“I think that I will come up to Neeeew …..York,” a loud release of breath and a pause, “this weekend.”
“Are you alright?” asks Lamont.
“Yeah. I was just stretching,” I said trying to remember not to flush the toilet until after I hung up with him.

Truth be told, I think that wasn’t the only time that I’ve gone through that, nor was Lamont the only person that I’ve done it to. But if someone were to do that to me and show so much disrespect I would try to reach through that phone and I would, I would…

Well, who among us is perfect?


  1. Just a few weeks ago my son and I were at dinner, and this guy at the table behind us was having a loud conversation on his cell phone.

    He was swearing and being super loud and obnoxious, so after he swore for like the 3rd or 4th time, I turned around and said "do you mind?!"

    He could have taken the typical attitude and told me where to go, but instead he lowered the volume, cleaned up the language and left shortly after.

    Thankfully I never have to take public transportation so I usually drive in the silence or noise of my own car/life.

    I think I might be guilty of talking on the phone at ahem, possibly inapropriate times (no flushing!).. lol

  2. they way folk act, the cell phopne need to be implanted in their brains ettiquite in general is dying u know

  3. RunningMom - Yes, that's just what I'm saying. People just seem to forget that they are out in pubic when it comes to cell phones and just completely ignore the fact that there are other people around them that don't want to get involved in their world.

    Torrance - You are right, etiquette is dying in general and I wonder why that is. Although maybe etiquette has never been a natural state of affairs in democracy and maybe the few years where it was, was just an anomaly from nature. I'm not sure I like that if it is.

  4. I had a friend that every time he called it seemed like he was in the bathroom.

    Dude says he is giving up the use of his cell phone for Lent...ummm, yeah...riiiiight.

    I wonder why it is that people talk so loud? Back in the day I thought ppl did it to show off but these days...9 year old kids have them.

  5. This is a funny post actually lol. I for one hate talking on the phone in general and especially when I'm out around other people because I know how I am. I nosey as all hell so I be all up in peoples convo's when I'm on the subway. When I'm ready to tune out, I turn my iPod back on. LoL.


  6. Curious dearheart you took Trailways? Now you know that you are telling your age and you had a cell phone during the Trailways Service years (damn thing must have worn five pounds). LMAO!

    Yes roaming charges was no joke in those days!

    I have yet to to find one person whom displays or uses etiquette when on a cellular phone with the exception of you and I, yes I do not use my phone on buses while en route, trains etc. I do talk ship to shore and inflight service when travelling.

    I take Metro everyday so I can certainly relate to what you are speaking about people shout and scream in the phones and will not limit the call by making it short and to the point, and so very often the King's English isn't even spoken which makes it even worst.

    No I don't think that it makes you bougie if you choose not to place yourself amongst the noise or the people, but on second thought you're bougie bougie anyway. :)
    Nothing wrong with that!

  7. I work for a national hotline, and JUST TONIGHT...TWO women talked to me on the phone while they were on the toilet! TWO! I HATE THAT SHIT! And one of the women had the nerve to ask me questions while the toilet was flushing! TACKY!

    Dammit, if you have to go while youre on the phone, have the decency to hide it! Ask the other person a question that require long answers. Hold your finger over the phone to cover up the sound of grunting and flushing. Or, hell, wait til youre off the phone to flush!

    I swear to God, I just might have to tell these women about their-selves if this shit dont stop!

    Thank you.


  8. Blah Blah Blah - Every time he called he was in the bathroom? See, Sigmund Freud would have a field day with that one. And yes 15 years ago having a cell phone said something about you, now it just says that you have an opportunity to be rude and insensitive.

    Damnit - So you go from listening to the conversations of strangers in public to listening to music or something else on your iPod in one swoop? Can we say we seem to have a strong need for entertainment?

    Chet - It is not true that I was at the theatre the night Lincoln was shot. I am not that old. Like Jack Benny used to say, "I am only 39." Ooh, I guess that dates me too.

    Lola - Like Bill Clinton said, "I feel your pain." There is nothing worse than when people not only disrespect you, but when they go out of their way to show it also.

  9. Yea. I mean some people are entertaining. Why you think I listen to you...? j/k LMAO!!! Luv ya babe (btw, WTF is my DRINK!?!).


  10. Damnit - Booze and Bullshit, now I realize what you're talking about. Although I don't remember why I wrote that phrase. Err, did I say who was going to pay for this night or day of revelry and debauchery?

  11. Hi Curious,

    I know I'm late to the party but...I HATE cell phones. Lol

    I haven't always hated them. I actually liked them in the 90's before everyone could afford them. I had one then and it was really nice.

    Now though since everyone has one, they are just an annoyance to me. I only recently bought one again. And I bought a talk and toss phone so when I get annoyed with it I can just chuck-it.

  12. MDC - I hear you on being used to be in love with the cell phone. Back when it belonged to only to an exclisive few, it actually meant something and said it about you. But now that we expect everyone to have one and therefore expect to be able to contact them at any time or any place, it has become I think bothersome.


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