Friday, March 03, 2006

Don’t Answer It!

Simple concept: if your cell phone rings, chirps, raps, sings, farts or vibrates and you’re already in a conversation with someone, don’t interrupt it to start a new one on your phone. Looking at your hip, glancing down at your phone, or pulling it up to your eyes, when speaking or being spoken to, is simply rude. “I have to take this” is the biggest lie since “I meant to call you.” There is only one reason to check your phone in a conversation: you are a licensed therapist and it’s one of your more unstable patients. Talking someone down from a building rooftop is an acceptable interruption. OK, maybe one other exception but it better be legit: potential hookup. Otherwise, ignore your damn cell phone. It shouldn’t control your attention the way crack does for Whitney.

You have voicemail for a reason. Use it. I challenge you to think of a time when you’ve had to answer your phone the moment it rings. Even if it’s an emergency, chances are you don’t know if they should cut the blue wire or the red one, MacGyver. Have you ever checked your voicemail five minutes after a call and said, “Damn. If only I had answered it when it rang. Now it’s too late.”? No, you haven’t. Yes, it’s a pain to call your voicemail, punch in your pin, listen to a message and return a call. But it isn’t rude. Sometimes, it's not about you.

So the next time someone looks at their phone during your conversation, give them a little slap. “Hey! Eyes up here. We’re talking.” It will be a firm but effective reminder that they’re already talking to someone; the other person can wait.

When we cut the cord (phone cord) and went wireless worldwide, it was supposed to provide freedom. Who knew we’d have to cut the cord again, this time the wireless umbilical cord so many cell phone users are attached to?


Anonymous said...

If you are a husband with kids and the wife calls, you answer it.

If you are a stand-up comic and a booker calls, you answer it.

If you slap me I will get mad.

Hearing someone bitch about cellphones is almost as painful as having someone interrupt a conversation to answer one.


Mike Morucci said...

Thanks for the read and the comment, Mike. I wrote this on a day when I felt particularly insulted by a coworker. There are always times to answer the phone. I talk about slapping people a lot - I don't really attempt it. Good luck with your comedy aspirations and maybe I'll check you out at Fire Rock Grill.

Dave Bittner said...

Yes! This also ties into my belief that just because a device can, doesn't mean a device should. I'm talking about musical ringtones. First of all, there's rarely a time when it's appropriate for you phone to be set on anything but vibrate (okay, I get that ladies keep the phone in the purse sometimes...) but really, has anyone, ANYONE, been in a situation where the room is suddenly filled with the sound of a cell phone playing a song, and anyone thinks, "How delightful! Your cell phone plays a mexican novelty song!"

Nope. Set it to vibrate. If that doesn't work, set it to ring. Nobody's interested in hearing your favorite 80s song blasted through a one-inch speaker. that out of my system...