Saturday, September 09, 2006

Cell Phone Or Hell Phone?

A survey of Verizon cell phone users showed that folks in Miami and Los Angeles use their cell phones more than anyone else in this country, according to Reuters. Detroit was the furthest eastern U.S. city on the list, ranking third. The story said that Miami cell users have an average of 298 calls a month compared to the 260 by Los Angelinos.

That is a lot of phone calls. I have to use my cell phone for work and I don’t come anywhere near making or receiving that many. I don’t know what your views of cell phones are, (I think there’s only 2: evil necessity or hand held technological fruit of the gods) but I hate mine. There are even days when I have left my phone at home or in my truck so I could say I “forgot” it just to get away from it for a while. I suppose if I ever get stranded in quicksand and a pack of emaciated wolves are heading my way, then I might change my view, but that would be the only way I would.

The cell phone has become as much of a necessity in our lives as any of the technological inventions of the past 100 years. It still cracks me up when I hear a cell phone ring and everyone looks to see if it’s theirs. I have even seen people pick up their phone almost as if they were trying to get it to ring or couldn’t understand why it didn’t ring when whomever they are with gets a call. It’s pretty sad, actually.

When cell phones started gaining popularity, who would ever have thought that there would be such a huge market for ring tones? I’ll admit that I have the theme song from “The Dukes of Hazzard” as mine because it is one of my favorite songs. The only problem now is that I hate the song because I hear it every time my phone rings and I detest when it rings. I can’t begin to tell you how many different ring tones I hear throughout the course of a day. There are even ring tones now that sound like old fashioned ringing telephones.

While on the topic of cell phone usage, the notion of cell phone etiquette comes to mind. What concerns me the most is how quick folks are to grab their phone the second it rings. This is regardless of where they are or who they are with. Is there a universal etiquette for using cell phones? If not, I think someone should determine and state when it is and is not proper to use a cell phone. Maybe Dear Abby has a cell phone and someone could call her and ask. I’d do it, but I don’t like having conversations on cell phones.

Many times I have been with close friends or co-workers talking, having lunch or enjoying a long drive to or from a meeting when their phone rings and they immediately answer it, in the middle of our conversation. Of course there are some instances where that is fine but it is an odd feeling to be sitting alone in a car with someone in the middle of a discussion when they answer their phone and you have to sit there in silence until they are finished. It may just be me, but it certainly gives the impression that whoever is on the phone is more important and I might as well not even be there. The same thing applies when a group of folks are together and someone takes a cell phone call and doesn’t excuse themselves from the group. Everyone then has to talk over the person or wait until they are off the phone. We have all experienced being next to someone in a public place that has forgotten that anyone is around them while they were using their phone. Awkward, isn’t it? Do we really want to know how their cousin’s polyp is doing or care how they feel about their weird sexually overactive roommate? I sure don’t!

The cell phone is an invention that has no doubt saved lives, given us our only form of communication during crisis and a way to get a hold of someone at any time. However, that same accessibility has also created the necessity for responsibility in using it. Maybe it is time that we decide when and where it is socially acceptable to use a cell phone. Once that has been decided it needs to be publicized and posted in public places everywhere. I have a lot more to say about this issue but my cell phone is ringing and I need to go throw it out back so the dog can use it as a chew toy.


Awesome Mom said...

I have one for long distance calls and emergencies. We have the cheapest plan possible and still do not use it all up so that tells you how I feel about cell phones. They are handy but I don't like being tied to a phone so very few people actually get my cell number. Heck I am not a huge fan of phones in general and hardly use our land line. We go days with out a call and that is just fine with me.

Marjorie Wise said...

I wait tables at a small diner and it's become increasingly common to see people walk in with their phone stuck to an ear and keep it there while a server stands next to their table waiting to take a food order. I know that one day I won't be able to hold it in any longer and tell someone that I'll be back when they put their phone away. The other day a woman actually said into her phone, "Hang on while I order my food."

I love the sign I saw a few years ago on the door of a shop in Chicago: "We know your calls are important but please take them outside." Bravo for the shop owner.

Odat said...

I have for work which i turn off as soon as i leave the building....and one for personal use (emergencies only)...Not a big fan but they do come handy...I don't talk while I'm walking on the every 9 out of 10 New Yawkers...I don't talk when I'm driving like 8 out of 10 New Yawkers...I turn it to vibrate when I'm with groups...and don't answer it if I can take the call at another time...and if I must take it, I walk away. I always stare and listen intently when someone sitting near me on the train or in public is talking on the phone...I mean they are now in my SPACE and it now becomes my business too...I tell them that too! (I know, I'm gonna get myself in trouble some day..but hey, you only live once and someone's gotta tell these jabonies that shit ain't right!)


INAMINI said...

I'm not a big fan either. I don't know how to use speed-dial (I have all the phone nummbers in my head,) and I don't know what to do if the "call-waiting" beep goes on, I just keep on talking. I love being totally unreachable. Life went on before cell-phones, and I'm determined it will go on during cell-phones!

Michael C said...

I cannot agree more with all 4 of your comments. I'm taking my phone and throwing it into the lake in honor of all of you. Now if I could just find a lake...

mist1 said...

I really did throw my phone in a lake once. I have also thrown one into the fireplace.