09 January 2008

Cell Phone Culture

I'm guilty of this.

Scenario: I am on my way to point A, or I have to wait above ground for a metro and I have a few minutes. I call a family member or a friend to pass the time. We talk for a few minutes and then I rush off of the phone because I am on my way to my destination.


I am on my way to point A, and someone else is on her way to point B. She calls me, and rather than let the call go to voice mail, I pick up the phone and we both talk until someone has to get off of the phone.


Someone is on his way somewhere and he calls me. He talks until he has to go and jumps off of the phone. I don't get to say what I wanted to say, and neither does he, I suppose.


I am on a date or out with a friend and he or she gets a phone call. He or she picks up the phone; perhaps he or she doesn't talk for a long time, but it nevertheless interrupts whatever is going on. I have done the same thing, but I usually say "excuse me, I should take this." Some people don't. Or there's the missed call with the voice mail beeping and the "excuse me, but I have to check this and call the person back" (and interrupt whatever is going on).

And I pick up a phone call, rather than ignore it to get even.

This is not a revelation, but mobile phones completely change how I (and everyone else) interact with other people.

And most times, it sucks.

**I know that I am not guilty of talking too loud on public transportation, out on the street or in a restaurant.


Airam said...

I hardly talk on my phone. I'm not a phone person to begin with. And yes I screen.

a little of this, a little of that... said...

What gets me is that all of these cell phone behaviors, while relatively new, are quickly becoming normalized. Younger folks and those who failed to pick up on manners that their parents might have tried to teach them are probably the most susceptible to adopting these behaviors.

cuff said...

I didn't get to finish reading your post...I had to take a call. What were you saying?

suicide_blond said...

i hate to talk on the phone... rrgh...
i esp hate to talk on the phone is im doing something...anything

m.a. said...


Ah. The phone screener. I forgot that category. I know lots of them.

alot, (that's what I'm calling you from now on as your moniker is too long and now that you're a regular commenter) You're right. I've had students pick up a cell phone during a meeting with me.

Cuff, Ah. Good one.

Suicide Blonde, It's totally understandable. I am still a phone person at heart, but things have changed for me.

susan said...

I definitely do the "well, I'm on my way somewhere, so I'll call so-and-so real quick" thing. And I text message more than is probably polite, at less than opportune times. I should stop doing that.

Grad School Reject said...

I talk on the phone so much at work that I resent using it outside of office hours.

Megarita said...

I never (if I can help it) take calls while I'm with a real person. It makes me crazy. I have such a thing about focusing on what you're doing or who you're with, especially when I'm with a person, that the phone call seems unspeakably rude. Are you a surgeon being paged in to replace someone's aortic valve? No? Just bored?

Honestly? I think it's OK to be unavailable now and again. Cell phones keep trying to tell us that's wrong.

Washington Cube said...

I refuse to engage in this behavior. With my rules, it's rude, and yes, I'm constantly exposed to it, so I should go with the cultural flow, but "no." I'm with Mega. Focus on the person you are with. Nothing is that important unless say you know your mother or father is dying of a brain tumor, in which case, you should be with them, not with your friends.