Friday, December 14, 2012

The amazing rudeness of cell phone slaves

I was at a party of (mostly) strangers last night. I never subject myself this kind of noise and drinking and pointlessness, but having promised my son to go to one if he would, he did, so I did, punto.

I sat in a corner watching a woman in animated conversation suddenly inform those around her: "my leg is buzzing." She pulled out her phone and read her message while the people she'd been talking with stood patiently waiting. The phone went back in the pocket, the conversation continued, the leg buzzed again, the woman pulled out the phone. This time she not only read it but popped her thumbs at it for quite a while as the polite humans around her went into a vague suspended animation, smiles politely frozen onto their faces (I would have walked away).

Belatedly noticing something amiss, after one of the texts the woman with the cell phone endeavored to be more social by showing the message to the strangers.

Later we got our dinners and sat down. The guy across from me left his cellphone on the table and at its (frequent) mellifluous chimes he instantly tended it, abandoning us the way butlers in Upstairs, Downstairs leave the servants' quarters and rush off to discover why the master of the house is ringing.

Someone next to me obliquely mentioned the rudeness of cell phones at parties. You might snigger, thinking this couldn't actually be oblique under the circumstances, but the guy cheerfully chimed in: "I hate 'em, I don't need 'em at all."

When pushed, he got very animated, reached down to his little briefcase and pulled out a notebook computer which he started waving in the air, and that's when I bolted.

Old codgers think the person directly in front of you has priority over one pulling your strings from afar. Why do cashiers stop checking people out to have lengthy phone conversations? Because one who is already in line is a 'bird in the hand' and therefore birds in the bushes may be wooed without penalty?

Yes, I'm just another codger amazed there's nothing wrong with taking calls in public and yakking away, interrupting real-world conversations and activities, when in fact electronic connection is cheap and constant and it's face-time which is rare and precious...

I close this antiquated rant with a quote from the Urban Dictionary.
Pavlovian Texting: The phenomenon occuring in groups of people when one person in the group reaches for their cell phone to receive a message, text, etc thereby causing all other members of the group to also check their phones for messages.


At 7:54 PM, Blogger novelera said...

Missed seeing this when you posted it. All I can say is AMEN!!!

At 10:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pavlovian? Not so sure. Since the first person's decision to take the call has already led to the rl convo entering suspended animation, perfect time for those who were polite enuf not to answer the bell when they were summoned from afar to check their backlogs.

At 5:07 PM, Anonymous susanlynn said...

Don't even get me started. At the college where I teach, I am constantly annoyed but fascinated to see students sitting in lounge areas , each talking on his/her cellphone or using a ipad instead of interacting with each other. Technology may prove to be the end of civilization as we know it.


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