The first portable phones were the size of a small suitcase. Today, a mobile can be held in a closed fist, or even located in a tooth. The price has come to a level that almost everyone can afford, and everywhere you go, addicted individuals have mobiles attached to their ears, or are doubled over texting messages to other addicts.
The phone has the power to take precedence over real people. Watch how everyone responds to the ringing of a phone, and watch the same people respond to a call from the people around them. A house can be on fire, and you will see people texting or talking on their mobiles as they are leaving the danger zone.
It is like a disease of the Insecure. Surely friendships and business exchanges are not going to cease if one does not immediately answer the call. There must be spaces where socializing actually replaces the machine call for reply. It is not so, and even at meals and at functions and formal dinners, and even at concerts, movies, lectures, churches and funerals, the mobile will ring and be answered.
Today the rudeness is highlighted by the latest in ultra-loud jangling answer tones, and where once the call was preceded by a recognizable phone ring, now a blast of jolly Music, often totally inappropriate for the function on hand, will now blast the ears of others, as its owner hurriedly exits trying to find the discordant mobile to answer it. Never have I seen it simply put off or just turned down. The owner will walk outside and answer the phone, confirming their ignorance of a social protocol now violated. It is not funny anymore, it’s an invasion. It’s an invasion of the right of others to enjoy their privacy without being subjected to firstly, the disturbance of their silence or pleasure, and secondly, by the invasion into their right to enjoy the privacy of their outing and the companion/s they are with.
It never seems to amaze me that people on dates, spend their time on their mobile phones, thus confirming their ignorance of how to behave on a date, and also their confirmation of the value of the person they are dating. It’s the person on the phone that takes precedence over the person at the table. I once walked out on a phone-talking date to be reprimanded later for being rude. He had no idea what his absorption with the phone did to my ego, and could not even see that taking me out and spending the evening on the mobile, did not equate to a pleasant evening for me sitting at the table, waiting for him to get off the phone and acknowledge my presence as his guest and date. Next time this happens I intend to take my mobile out and text everybody a simple question like, ‘What are your plans for next weekend, or even next Christmas? And either answer the replies, or keep texting other questions with serious intent, to show how popular I am, and how important my messages are to the recipients. I also guarantee that most of the recipients will reply, as most people simply cannot ignore a phone call, let alone a phone message, however inappropriate it is at the time. I am sure my date will be very impressed with my dedication to my mobile. In a situation like this, the date will possibly also get absorbed in a mobile, and leave me wondering what the purpose of the evening was, and what exactly was I trying to prove.
What does happen when someone has a shower, or is in a swimming pool or spa? Are mobiles now waterproof so one can still talk and text between soap and shampoo? I remember once discussing a heavy Board Meeting whilst seated on the throne. The problem arose when I had finished, but the discussion had not, and I was forced to stay in this uncomfortable position for longer than I wished. I still grin when I remember who I was talking to, and what I was doing, and thinking how suitable the location was for the discussion, and how appropriate the situation really was for this particular conversation.
This is one of the reasons that video phones have not become popular. Addicts will have to be dressed to answer the phone, and make sure they are in appropriate places. Imagine telling the wife or girlfriend that one is in an important meeting when in the arms of a girlfriend, at a restaurant or in a public service, whilst on a video phone. Remote viewing psychics would have some fun watching some people answer the mobile, which has today taken over far too many lives. Video phones would be very useful for parents using mobiles to check on their young children and teenagers, and partners too, and I can also see that it would lessen the rudeness of patrons at public functions and public places, especially if callers can view the place and the company of the person they are calling. " No Darling, I am not at the races or the Casino. I am having a discussion with my Boss at work. Look for yourself...."
The fault lies not with the caller, but with the person answering the phone. The mobile is a very advanced and excellent technological invention that has made faster and more efficient communication possible between individuals, business and social associates; families, and also dating and mating. It is time that individuals who have the mobiles attached to their ears start realizing that maybe the people they are with have importance too, and that real people also have rights. There are times for being on constant call, and there are times when one needs to withdraw from the invasive and powerful force of the phone, and regain some privacy and free time, away from all, with access to a phone and a phone number, and one of them is when at a function or dinner, or simply being out on a private date. If you cannot bear to be away from the phone, stay alone and enjoy the calls, but don’t take your mobile out to a function and expect others to be sympathetic, or even impressed, when it jangles out your rudeness to the unwanted audience also forced to share your rude behavior..
If you need to be on constant call, there is a facility for silence, and if you cannot remember to use this, then you should not have a phone, and you should not attend public events where you can cause embarrassment. The lady who created a disturbance having a popular song blast out in the middle of a formal Classical Concert, then created further disturbance and broke the concentration of the listeners, as she then proceeded to get out of her centrally located seat, whilst scrabbling in her handbag for her phone, then rushing out answering the phone as she went, to continue her conversation outside the now open doorway, needs serious treatment.
One of the worst places for rudeness is public transport. Sometimes commuters require some time to think and unwind, and listening to someone chattering at the top of their voice is a total invasion of the rights of others, as well as noise pollution. Public Transport needs to consider this and bring in a rule that fines noise violators as they shout out their conversations. Seated between many people all shouting in phones is a total pain and also very rude and inconsiderate behavior. It is definitely not a sign of popularity. It’s a sign of insecurity, and business men, mostly salespeople working on the job, should realize that they are bombarding unwilling ears and being a transport pest. If you do need to answer a call, keep it short, and speak normally. The person on the other end of the phone has better hearing capabilities because of the features of the phone, and the call is broadcast to everyone present, cringing uncomfortably, trying to ignore the pain level of the raised voice that public transport commuters insist on using.
The mobile phone may be the best invention known to man, and may have extended and advanced our communication to a very high level, but what remains is a need for some Phone Etiquette and Manners for all those who own or consider owning a Mobile Phone.
Manners and responsible behavior has been sadly cast aside in the invasion and control of people by the mobile. Responsible adults forget their social responsibilities when they let the demands of the strident mobile control their lives. Take time to share time with those who are with you, rather than constantly giving in to the demands of the callers on the phone. Next time I am dating, I shall phone my date, for that way I can be sure of undivided attention, as while they are on the phone, the blasted thing will not ring again…unless he has ‘Call Waiting’…in which case I need 2 or more mobiles and a sense of humour.
I rest my case…I am beaten….The Mobile phone has superseded my worth as a companion. Link this with the Japanese robot that now feel like a person and responds with six basic emotions, and soon there will be no need to leave home. You simply communicate with your mobile, which will now also smile and grimace at you, and feel soft in your hand, and if you get a mobile in the shape of an animal, you can also pat it for comfort.
Take back your life from the Mobile Phone Invasion….and start to value the people you spend time with as much as you value the message on and from the phone. Someday they will be on the other end of the mobile, and so will you.
Marguerite Carstairs ©