Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Aww, Cell Phones

I absolutely LOVE the convenience my cell phone offers me. I stand amazed when I hear someone say that they don't have one, realizing that they are certainly in the minority these days. It seems like EVERYONE has one and it's difficult for me to imagine what life would be like without my precious little "friend".

Now I could go on for hours about the benefits of having modern communication at our fingertips 24/7. I think we all know and appreciate how great these little devices are. There is no doubt that they have saved many lives and prevented many inconveniences. HOWEVER...

I have a HUGE pet peeve. Maybe I should re-phrase that and say that I have MANY pet peeves associated with these modern miracles...

1. People talk too LOUD: People think that these state-of-the-art phones have no volume on the other end and feel the need to elevate their voices when speaking into them. Really?? I don't need to hear all of your dirty laundry!

2. I hate when someone is checking out at the store and keep yacking away while the cashier is trying to help them...that's just rude.

3. I just love how the new way to break-up is through texting {{insert sarcasm}}. Can you really convey your deepest, most intimate feelings about a "meaningful" relationship with abbreviations??

4. I went to a student ward (church meeting) and EVERY kid in Sunday School had their phone out. I know that many were following along with their downloaded scriptures, but I saw an awful lot of "finger-action" on those tiny little keyboards...I saw a lot of Facebooking going on as well...

5. Driving on the open highway to California, the car in front of us was swerving all over the road. We decided to pass him and YES, he was texting!

6. My adorable step-daughter was over and wanted to watch a movie. Now bear in mind that hubs and I weren't thrilled with her choice but we placated her and watched it...we watched it, she texted through the entire show!

7. Speaking of movies, I just love when I'm really into a movie (in a theater) and someone in front of me is texting. The light on the phone is like a spot-light in an interrogation room!

8. My all time favorite...when I was a Flight Attendant doing the Safety Demo and a passenger was taking my picture with his smart phone...Really?!? Are you that desperate?

OK, you get the point. I really hate to complain in my posts, but this is OUT-OF-CONTROL. It's everywhere and I know that all of you have experienced many of the same frustrations that I have regarding this issue.

When I got my first cell phone back in 1995, very few people had one. I noticed that those who did made sure that those who didn't knew that they were one of the chosen few. That has changed now as everyone has one...even elementary school aged children carry one so their parents "can always know where they are".

There are still those who think they are impressing everyone by rearing back to send their bell-like laughter into the unwired ether. And many cellphone calls are the inane (to anyone nearby) with calls full of "...and then I go...and then he goes."

No wonder cellphone backlash, even cellphone rage is with us. I read one report where two men were in a cafe and were beaten and their phones destroyed by two others after the pair ignored repeated requests to curb their loud and continuous yakking on their phones.

The cell rule for places of worship: Leave the phone at home, in the car or at least turn it off before you enter. God may call you, but it's unlikely He will use Verizon.

In business, the face-to-face customer always seems to be secondary to the prospective one on the phone. Just visit any department/grocery store and see.

Love it or hate it (or both) the phone is supreme. We are all in our own way slaves to it. Now here's a thought: Do you really want to be available all the time? Does that truly make you more productive, or does it just spread the productivity thinner over more time?

Keep in mind, the more available you make yourself the more available everyone will expect you to be. People will actually be miffed if you are not instantly and constantly available rather than being pleased when you do call.

Ask yourself: Do I really need to be - or want to be - "connected" 24/7/365? And ask: what's it doing for that tension across my upper back?

But how about the noise of the user? It's an interesting matter - why do cellphone users shout into it as if it were a tin can connected to another by a string? I have a friend whose normal tone of voice is perfectly, well, normal. But let her flip open her cellphone and you'd think she's trying to yell at deaf Uncle Albert in the lower forty over the pocketa-pocketa of a Fordson tractor.

I said one day at lunch when her bellowed "hello" had turned a few heads, "You know, there's a microphone in that little thing. It can hear you." I later set an exercise for her - if she felt required to change the level of her voice in the transition from face-to-face to phone, try lowering it. She did. It worked famously. Now no one can tell if her talk is phone time or face time. Try it.

And if you can't be heard, don't raise your voice; raise your body and exit to the back hall where the pay phones are. Or go outside among the other jackhammers and shout all you like. Realize that shouting in a restaurant (an office hallway, a bus, a bookstore) is rude and uncalled for, whether you have a phone in front of your face or not. If you are not aware that you are shouting (and some are not) then take your cue from the response of those around you. If anyone looks, lower your voice.

If you can summon the discipline to be unavailable at certain times - and even for uncertain lengths of time - it's doubtful much will change, except your peace of mind. I remember from childhood a friend's mother at an eat-over-supper halting her daughter's urge to jump up and answer the phone. She told her: "If it isn't important you've wasted the effort; if it is important they'll call back." And that was before we had answering machines or recording devices that picked up after a few rings. That phone call was like the tree in an unpeopled forest: it fell and was forgotten, unnoticed forever.

I never recall having the 24/7 connection to my mother when I was a kid. I told her where I was going, I called when I got there and then I called if I went somewhere else. I kept in touch because I was taught values and the importance of being honest about where I said I would be. If I was driving somewhere, I told her the route I was taking so if I didn't show up in a timely manner she would know where to come find me. It worked...I survived and I'm still here.

The world still turned.



addicted2shius said...

So hilarious but yet so true. For our ward, theproblem isn't with the kids, it's the adults. What I love about the phone apps is how they have the lesson plans and I can follow along even with the scriptures without having to take the time to rush to find the right one. And it alleviates all the clutter I have to bring each Sunday. But at the same time there are some in our ward who get crazy during lessons and basically take over when responding to teachers cuz the answer is so readily available. I don't even bother to focus cuz it's really lost all it's meaning for me. Such a catch 22.

Connie said...

Loved your post on cell phones . . . You would gt a good laugh over here. EVERYONE ha a cell phone, even if they live in a cardboard box! No one calls . . . they just text. Wade is hating it and I'm not fond of it either. Even the Mission President will text a message instead of coming to our door and talking to us or calling us . . . so frustrating! But you made me smile . . . Thanks!!

Lee said...

I'm loving the rant!