When we lived in The Big City and I rode public transit all the time and even more so, when we moved half an hour out of the city and I took a commuter train to work, listening to someone talk on their cellphone made me want to gouge my eyes (well, THEIR eyes, but I don’t want to get in trouble). I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having a cellphone, though the one we bought when we were house hunting was used again briefly at the end of my pregnancy and has since been a sad and neglected piece of ever-aging technology.We aren’t terribly important people and almost anything anyone would want to tell us can wait until we’re home.
But there’s a time and place for every conversation and the most annoying “What are you doing? Where are you?” conversation that happens a billion times a day could probably wait until you are off the very crowded streetcar or train. I still twitch when I hear a certain commuter train stop because inevitably, five minutes before we reached the station, half the train would take out their phones and convey to their loved ones that they were coming into “CLARKSON! … CLARKSON!… Can you hear me now? NOW? CLARKSON!” You do this commute every day and they pick you up every day. Trust that you will indeed arrive and if you don’t, your love one has the smarts to check the incoming trains list and will see that you are five minutes late. And they can wait for five minutes. Remember when we used to do that?
I realized that I am in the minority in cellphone use. People love their cellphones and everyone creates their own morality scale for what is appropriate use and what is not. Some people answer their phones at the table or during a concert, others would be appalled. Some people think novelty hip-hop is an appropriate ring-tone even if does tend to go off during business meetings, others would find that highly unprofessional. (Once I worked for a director in his 50s, a rough and tough man’s man – as far as theatre director’s go – whose new ring-tone was the Sex and the City theme. He had no idea what it was and no one bothered to tell him because it was too entertaining. I digress.)
But now there’s scientific proof that cellphone use is annoying – Why Overhearing Half A Cellphone Conversation is So Annoying. Thank you Cornell University.