Thursday, February 4, 2010

Can you hear me now?

You may already know this, but I don't really go in for cell phones. Up until last month, I didn't own one and now that I do, it is one of those Trac Phones that you add minutes to every so often. Mine actually has features like texting capabilities and voice mail, but heck if I know how to use them.

Bil has a real problem with cell phones. While working on a college research project, he discovered the link between cancer and cell phone usage. And I have read more recent articles pointing out the connection, as well. This is one reason we have not broken down and bought ourselves cell phones. That and lack of expendable income.

Still, my problem with cell phones isn't really related to cancer or even money, though they have certainly factored in to our decision. No, I think cell phones are just annoying. I understand their utility and convenience, I really do, but what I don't understand is why it is socially acceptable to answer and converse on your cell phone when you are hanging out (in person!!) with another friend. When I say this, I mean people who will talk for 20 minutes about absolute minutiae when I am sitting right there waiting for some attention.

Typically when your cell phone rings, you are either with another person or engaged in some chore, usually one that requires a certain amount of attention, like, say, driving or binding a flesh wound. Who decided it would be a good idea to talk on the phone when you are behind the wheel of a 3,715 pound mini van? Hopefully someone with vastly superior reflexes and focus than I.

I just don't happen to be a very focused person. Distractions, well, they distract me. And a cell phone blaring Beyonce's "All the Pretty Ladies?" Well, that's pretty distracting if you ask me.

And yes, I know that I could just turn the cell phone off in the car, but the thing is, I really don't need a cell phone distracting me while grocery shopping or running errands, or while hanging with the kids at the library. I mean, shoot, I almost lost Tommy at church the other day because I was talking to someone for a minute or two. Yes, the kid is small, but so is our congregation. And keeping track of yet another electronics device when I can so easily lose a twenty pound baby? Yeah, you can see the problem, can't you?

What's really awkward with cell phones, though, is when people answer them in front of me. I never know what to do. Do I walk away so they can talk without me eavesdropping? I don't know the protocol.

Not too long ago, a friend of mine answered her phone while hanging out with me. No big deal, right? Well, see, it happened that it was her husband on the line and she had lied to him about where she was. (Don't ask. Seriously, the reason is so ridiculous I still don't understand her rationale).

So, there I was sitting next to J and one of my kids comes up to talk to me. I didn't know what to do. Do I answer my kid? What if J's husband hears me and realizes J has lied? Will it be my fault if they argue and subsequently divorce? On the other hand, if I ignore my kid, she will just get louder until everyone in the greater metropolitan area will hear her and then J will really have some 'splaining to do. Is it my responsibility to get up and walk away so she has some privacy? Will she ask me to lie to cover up her lie? My imagination ran wild as I envisioned scenario after scenario in which I somehow get dragged into a custody battle, or worse yet, a smackdown on Jerry Springer.

I felt like I was a character on some pathetic soap opera. Desperate and Dumpy Housewives? I don't know.

Anyway, my point is, I have enough awkward moments in my life. Moments where I forget my neighbor's name and don't have the guts to just admit it. Or when I make a joke no one thinks is funny. And let's not forget all the tripping and falling I manage to do. So, no, I don't need cell phones to provide any more awkwardness, thank you.

And you know, I just am not that popular that people want 24/7 access to me. So, we'll save our money, I'll try to focus more and hopefully prevent car accidents. And if you happen to lie about your whereabouts to your husband, please don't answer your cell phone around me. I just can't handle the drama.


For more pet peeves, visit the Spin Cycle.


Maureen@IslandRoar said...

I agree with you completely. Until my son, now 22, got into middle school. Suddenly I needed to reach him at odd hours, in odd places, and even more, needed him to reach me when I wasn't necessarily at home.
Fast forward 10 years and texting is probably the easiest way to contact my 15 year old daughter and get a response. But I agree, there has to be manners and protocol. And people act like their cell phones are an invitation for everyone to want to hear their business.
There's got to be some happy medium though, cuz I sure as hell am never going back!

Sprite's Keeper said...

Honey, I am not that popular either. My cell phone is by my side in case Sprite's daycare calls. Otherwise, I'm working, thanks. My cell phone conversations usually extend to my parents, my best friend, and John and everyone else gets the email approach since it's so much easier to get the entire thought out there. My biggest cell phone peeve of all is people who answer their cell phone at the table in a restaurant. If it's that important, please excuse yourself and walk outside to carry on your conversation. Raising your voice to compete with the noise in the room only brings attention to yourself for the wrong reasons.
Great Spin, you're linked!

Kelly said...

We actually just have cell phones - no landline. We need to have phones, but why bother having one at home. We're both out of the house more than we are there so cell phones make sense and it's handy. Jason is pretty much the only person who ever calls me, so I'm not on my phone that much anyway.

That said, I have so many pet peeves about cell phones, it's ridiculous.
1) Driving. I think all states should outlaw cell phones while driving. I'm fine with people using handsfree devices, but when you can't put both hands on the steering wheel if you need to, that's a problem. Last night driving from Providence to Boston (an hour drive), no less than 4 cars almost drifted into us and when we drove by every single driver was on their phone.

2) Ringers in meetings/church/movies. Seriously, how important do you think you are? Just turn it off. I fully admit there have been a couple of times I have forgotten and my ringer has gone off, but I turn it off as fast as I can and apologize. There is one guy at church whose ringer goes off 2 or 3 times every single Sunday. Turn it off! And if you forget before the meeting, turn it off after the FIRST time! And the people who pick up and say, "Hello?" I want to hit them.

3) Kids who can't look up from texting. Now that I'm in YW, I am so aware of how distracting texting is. Those girls can't get enough. That's a personal family choice, but I don't think kids need to be hooked up to one another 24/7.

I guess I needed to get some things off my chest. :)

Mama Zen said...

A couple of days ago, a woman in the check-out line behind me had a total and hysterical argument with her boyfriend on her cell phone. I know far more about her intimate life than I need to.

Evenspor said...

This really bugs me too. Have we forgotten how to say, "Can I call you back?" And the contancy with which teenagers (and some adults) text is disturbing.

When we were grocery shopping last week, our checker - the only checker there, with five peole waiting in line behind us - was having a personal phone conversation the entire time she was ringing up our groceries. So sorry for interfering with your personal life by wanting to buy groceries during your shift, lady.

She was using the store phone, though, not a cell phone. Still the same disregard for appropriateness, I think.

Denise said...

I, for one, DO want 24/7 access to you. Don't you know that by now! ;)

Bill said...

FYI: There is a big caveat in the research I did for college. Cell phone usage doesn't CAUSE cancer, the microwaves exacerbates cancerous cells you already have causing them to inflame and spread. So it's not a direct cause, which gives the phone companies an out, but there is definitely a link. A plus, use them in moderation, and you won't have to worry about etiquette.

Ginger@When Ginger snaps... said...

This whole issue drives me nuts too. I used to have a good friend. We enjoyed going to lunch together about twice a month. After she got her cell phone, I didn't want to be around her anymore. It was constantly ringing, and she would sit and ignore me the whole time we were together, while she chatted on and on with other friends. I'm sorry, but I just can't stand to be around anyone that rude.

suzicate said...

I am with you on the rudeness of cell phones users...where's the etiquette? I have a cell phone, but I also have manners. And I never ever talk on it and drive...I am definitely not that coordinated or focused.

danette said...

I'm not much on talking on the phone (seriously, the only people who call me are my husband and my parents), but I do like my phone. Mostly because it gives me internet access w/o having to be at a computer so I can look up directions or read the news, etc. We don't have a landline anymore, figured we didn't really need one since we both have cell phones.

I'm with ya on the etiquette stuff though. What really catches me off guard is when someone is using bluetooth and they just start talking to the air, out of the blue...

Elizabeth Channel said...

The whole etiquette business makes me nervous actually. Still I am a culprit because of the weather obsession--I love the weather checking!

carrie said...

i can teach you how to text. it is so easy!!! :)

HarryJack's Mom said...

Hi, I just popped over here from SK (I think...see how I relate to the socially awkward?!) and wanted to say how much I enjoyed your funny post. It is hard to balance the convenience of the cell phone with reasonable manners, but I'm trying since I don't want to lose either one. Mine is my spontaneous camera, too...I haven't ventured into texting land, either ;-) GL!

Lisa @ Boondock Ramblings said...

You're right! What are you supposed to do when someone picks up the phone infront of you? But don't people know they can push the feature that allows them to kick that right to voice mail and then they can talk to the person later? If I did answer my cellphone while with a friend it would be quick and then I'd hang up. Wow. People are rude.

And I would not lie to my husband and expect a friend to cover up!

Mrsbear said...

I think rule number one is not to lie to your husband, rule number two avoid answering his call if there is a possibility background noise could give you away.

I'm not a big phone person. Cell or otherwise. Generally I try not to answer my phone in public, I think it's incredibly rude even if you're just dealing with a cashier or a waitress. I also don't need a bunch of strangers eavesdropping on my conversations, regardless of how inane it might be.

Glad you didn't lose the babe.

And hoping J managed to avoid divorce proceedings. You don't need that kind of guilt. ;)