Just Hang Up
Hang up when I’m talking to you. Get off your cell phone. In fact, turn off your cell phone. Just turn it off, put it down somewhere out of reach, and pay attention to the conversation that you’re already invovled in.
I’m sick of cell phones — or rather, I’m sick of what we put up with when cell phones are involved.
Personal calls at work on company time? Forbidden, of course — unless that call comes in on the cell phone at someone’s hip. Having a conversation with someone? Sorry, hold on, I’ve got a call. Out at dinner at a nice restaurant? Hope you don’t mind sitting there while I chat on the phone. Driving down the highway at 60 miles an hour in that gas-guzzling SUV that’s never left the pavement? Perfect time to distract yourself with the phone!
Why, for so many people, is everything put aside when the ringer goes off? You’ve got voicemail on that thing, right? Good. Then use it when I’m talking to you. I’m standing in front of you, looking you in the face — that should take precedence.
Expecting an important call? Fine, I can accept that — use the caller ID to check before answering if you can. If you can’t do that, then if an incoming call is not “the call,” make your apologies, offer to call back, and hang up.
This is simple stuff. To me, at least. Why doesn’t it seem to be for anyone else?
If you are using a cell phone, think about your behaviour while you’re on the phone. It’s basically a given that the people around you are going to be able to hear your side of the conversation — often whether they want to or not. Put some small amount of thought into what those around you are hearing. I’ve seen businessmen in expensive three-piece suits take a call and immediately turn into a foul-mouthed frat boy talking to whichever friend called, then hang up and turn back to the business conversation as if nothing had happened.
In a noisy environment? Maybe you should find a quiet place for that oh-so-important call then. I don’t know how many conversations I’ve been able to “sit in” on because one or the other party couldn’t hear well, so voices were raised, shouting into the phone, apparently under the bizarre assumption that there was some sort of “cone of silence” surrounding them. Here’s a hint, folks — we can hear you. Especially when you’re yelling.
Oh, and just because a cell phone is on your hip and you have the ability to call someone every time some little thing crosses your brain — don’t. Please don’t. Chances are, it’s not that important. If it’s really important, you’ll know it — if it can wait, let it wait. I’ve already lost too many hours to calls that had no real purpose or need, made only because there was no inhibition stopping it. I don’t need to lose any more.
I’m starting to feel like some sort of freak in today’s society. I don’t have a cell phone, nor do I want a cell phone. The only time I’ve owned one it was required by my job — and paid for by my job, too. I’m just sick to death of seeing people so engrossed in their phones that they neglect everything else.
Sorry about the rant. But please — put down the phone. Pay attention to the world.