*ring ring ring*
“Hi, remember me? I’ve been standing here next to you for the last twenty minutes. Remember how we went shopping together because we enjoy each other’s company?”

A person talks on a cell phone while another waits impatientlyEvery time I think I’ve had it “up to here” with cell phones, someone always raises the bar. I remember the days back when pagers were still trendy, where someone’s hip would go off and then they would call you back. I can handle that. I can also handle people who can’t handle two things at once talking and driving. No problem. I’m used to them. I also don’t mind these people who go find a nice corner by themselves and talk on their cell phones, or people who are by themselves walking and talking on their cell phones. No problem. That’s their business. I can even deal with people who forget to turn off their phones at meetings, in class, or in church, and then they go off. It’s distracting, but life goes on. What really gets me, though, is when cell phones get in the way of face-to-face human interaction. On a few occasions, I’ve spent time out shopping with a friend, or most recently, with my sister, with the intention of buying various necessary goods, and spending quality time with that person. However, their cell phone is on, and they get a call. Next thing you know, I’m being dragged around a mall by someone who’s more interested in the person at the other end of that wireless connection who didn’t even make the effort to seek the person out in person, than the person who actually made an effort to spend time with them live and in person. You’ll never know how much I dread hearing Toccata and Fugue (my sister’s ring tone), and then hearing her cheerful greeting, “Helga’s House of Pain, how can I abuse you?” All of a sudden, I’m nothing. I’m just someone who happens to now be in the way. Even worse than that is when I’ll be helping someone with something on their computer, for instance, and showing them what I’m doing or how to do something, and their cell phone will go off. Now here I am, working for free on something that benefits them (I don’t benefit from it at all), and now I’m in the awkward situation of waiting there, doing nothing, in someone else’s place, while they attend to a caller who, by their actions, is obviously more important than me, who’s with them in person. It really irks me when people do that. It’s so rude. I’m almost to the point where I’ll bring my own cell phone along as a defensive measure. Then when they’ve prattled along with their caller to the point of needing a little welcome-to-reality nudge, I’ll just whip out my own cell phone, dial their number, and remind them, “Hi, remember me? I’ve been standing here next to you for the last twenty minutes.” I haven’t had to do this yet, but I’m getting close to it. If only people could be like me with their cell phone use. I do admit to toting a cell phone, but it’s usually off. A battery lasts me a month between charges. I don’t give out my cell number. I keep it off during classes, meetings, and church. And I certainly have it off while I’m out with people. And if I do need to make a call, I’ll ask the people around me if it’s okay if I make a call, and then quietly make the phone call. And if people do mind, I make the phone call elsewhere. And people complain to me about my extensive use of Email and IM…

Date posted: September 28, 2003

Notes: This quote article was originally scheduled to run before the "blackboard" quote, but due to difficulties with the picture, the two articles were switched on the schedule.