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Beware Cell Phone Rudeness

Cell Phone Rudeness - Combat Disruptive Cell Phone Users

by Courtney Caldwell

Travel Etiquette -- Cell Phones

Everyone, it seems, owns a cell phone these days. Everywhere you look; on the streets, in restaurants, in the market, at airports, even in rest rooms. Everyone is on the phone. Thank goodness our elbows bend; otherwise, the world would be silent again. And maybe that wouldn't be such a bad thing.

As a frequent traveler, I spend a great deal of (wasted) time in airports, either walking mile-long concourses or waiting endlessly for a flight. It gives one time to do many things including observing human nature. One of the newest people-watching trends is the study of how cell phone behavior seems to reflect one's personality, or at least their perception of self-image.

Let's start with the most obnoxious cell phone user "Look-at-me-and-listen-to-how-important-I-am." This guy (or gal) is pacing up and down the corridor, speaking very loudly on his phone right near a large group of people who could otherwise care less at what he's saying.

Nonetheless, the guy speaks in a boisterous forceful tone to the person at the other end of the phone, which could be his dog for all we know. He bellows endlessly so that everyone can hear how commanding and in control he is. His eyes shift across his bored audience to ensure they're listening. Sure they are, and thinking, "Hey buddy, take it outside, you loud obnoxious creep." His interpretation of the facial disdain, however, reflects the attention he so desperately seeks and needs to validate his self-importance.

If these people are as powerful as they think they are, and their discussions as important as they try to make them sound, they would have the courtesy to take calls in one of the many nooks and crannies airports have to offer for privacy. But people like this seem to need and want attention. Their insecurities and egos need such boosting that their willingness to perform acts of foolery are boundless in the face of anyone who will listen (or is forced to listen).

Point is, knock it off. We, the public, are tired of loud bullish blabbermouths, from cable workers to company presidents, who try to impress unwilling audiences into listening to their pretentious power and persistent prattle. We are not impressed.

As innocent bystanders, many of us have been forced to listen to personal pillow talk and intimate details of the night before. There are phone fights and foul-mouthed arguments, even threats of violence. But even worse, are those who share details of upcoming business deals or private information about legal matters. Firms and companies need to know that some of their most trusted team players are in public places, bellowing some of the most private details about a pending case or deal. If one wanted to get the upper hand on insider trading, or an upcoming murder trial, or a top-secret business deal, all one would have to do is follow his competition around with a tape recorder.

Let's move on to the lovebirds -- ranging from lovesick teenagers to those having adulterous affairs. They speak on their cell as if no one else is around making cooing noises and saying all those goofy things we all say when we're in love. The difference is that most of us do this behind closed doors or in soft breathy whispers so no one else can hear but the intended.

Add the loud cackling laughter and giggling to all that and you have the recipe to one lewd and lascivious cell phone conversation in all the wrong places. And that's just the woman's end of the call. Of course, most men don't cackle, however, the love talk from the stud's end is usually much more comical. I never realized there were so many things that could be performed between two (or three) naked people, or that there were so many toys to….. errrr, enhance the experience. Where have I been? I guess they don't sell that stuff at Neiman Marcus. Silly me.

While women tend to be a little less forceful and quieter when using their cell phones in public places, there are those who rank high in cell phone rudeness. In fact, some are so loud that I've discretely held my forefinger up to my lips from across the room, puckered my mouth into the "shhhhh" formation to let them know they're talking loudly, hoping to save a sister from embarrassing herself. Some are appreciative, as they weren't aware that they were speaking above normal range. Others merely reply with a finger of a different kind, one with more of a universal understanding, then walk away to sit in the midst of another crowd to ensure a new audience of unwilling listeners.

Granted, some cell phones and cell phone plans leave little to be desired, hence Verizon's clever and stuck-in-our-brain commercial, "Can you hear me now?" However, knowing that all phones don't always work well under all circumstances or locations, we all need to be more cognizant of our surroundings when making phone calls in public places.

First and foremost, if you must use your cell phone in public, please find an area in which to speak that isn't crowd filled. Ambient noise alone will force even the quietest person to have to raise their voice to be heard or hear the other person; so finding a quiet place reduces the need to speak loudly. Find a corner or cubbyhole as not to disturb others. It's simply common courtesy.

Turn your cell phone off. Airplanes require phones be shut off during flight and thank goodness more and more restaurants and attractions are now requesting the same. If you don't need to have your phone on during the dining process, then please turn it off. If you're in any public place, know that the people around you aren't interested in your conversation, and more importantly, actually get quite annoyed with those engaged in loud conversations on their cell phones. We don't care about your business deal. We don't care about your Aunt Martha's gas. We don't care about your dog's heartworms. We don't care how many times you made the rooster crow last night.

Can you hear me now? Then hear this; back off and be quiet. Please let the rest of us enjoy our peace and solitude. Yes, even in the middle of a noisy crowded airport where, for some of us, that's the only place we get any quiet time.

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