Thursday, November 02, 2006

Cell Phone Etiquette 101

My gripe with cell phone users began the minute cell phones became cheap enough for everybody to own one. Actually, this gripe has two parts. The first part involves people who treat every conversation as though the person on the other end of the phone is standing in the middle of a monsoon on the other side of the world. The caller feels compelled to scream into the phone so that the listener doesn't miss a word. Unfortunately, the people standing nearby are completely trapped and have no choice but to listen, too. For the record, I have no desire to listen to a cell phone conversation when (a) I'm not directly participating and (b) the call is taking place twenty-five feet from where I'm standing. The second part involves the content of those conversations. To give you a taste of what I'm talking about, here is an excerpt of a conversation I overheard while riding the bus home from work one evening:

Young woman (whining): "But why are you doing this to me? I love you so much, Brian, and after everything I've had to deal with from your family, you're breaking up with me without telling me why?" She begins to cry. "But I told you I was sorry. What do you want me to do about it now?" She pauses and presses her forehead against the window. "Baby, you're my world and I can't imagine my life without you in it." Another pause and then an angry outburst. "You're a selfish asshole, you know that? I never asked you for anything except your love and this is how you treat me? How can you live with....." Brian hangs up the phone, but our young woman decides to prolong her agony and calls him back. The conversation continues. "Why did you hang up on me? I'm telling you I love you and you hang up on me? Do you know how that makes me feel?" The conversation continues, but I can no longer pay attention because I've climbed through the window and thrown myself under the wheels of the bus.

I'll save my thoughts about the content of her conversation for another time (I actually left the bus wanting to call Brian myself and congratulate him on making a wise decision). For now, my issue is with the fact that THE WHOLE BUS was subjected to this woman's conversation, a discussion that should have been held in private. I love the convenience of cell phones, too, but there are some conversations that should be held when nobody else is listening.


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