I have a love-hate relationship with cell phones.
I love them because:
- They’re convenient. Pop one in your purse or pocket, and you’ll never miss that important call.
- They’re small. Ditto, above. Remember land-lines? Even the cordless kind was bulky.
- They’re versatile. Talk, text, take pictures or video, listen to music. Like having an all-purpose fun machine!
I hate them because they make you so available.
They ring; you answer. You stop what you’re doing, and you answer.
Why is that? Most cell phones come equipped with voice messaging. Why won’t we use it?
If it’s an emergency, of course we need to be notified. But chances are, it’s not.
Chances are, it’s just hubby wanting to know which brand of green beans to buy. Or a friend wanting your recipe for coleslaw. Or one of the kids reminding you of soccer practice. Or some such.
Nothing immediate there, right?
Still, we’re expected to be Johnny-on-the-Spot with our “Hello.”
Which wouldn’t be so bad if the call didn’t come in at an inconvenient time. Or place.
Take yesterday morning, for example. I was in WalMart checking out when my cell phone rang. Looking behind me, I saw four angry customers in line and a clerk waiting for my money.
What to do?
Risk angering those strangers further, or hope my caller would understand my brusqueness?
And no easy answers.
I’m sure somebody somewhere has come up with a list of do’s and don’t’s regarding cell phone niceties, but nobody seems to be aware of it.
People tell what should be the most private of things into cell phones — at restaurants, shopping malls, airports. They give their entire schedules, bank account numbers, rendezvous locations. They speak of their kids’ failures, their spouse’s quirks, their own sexual escapades.
All for everyone to overhear.
Inadvertently, or not.
Anyway, I opted for brusqueness. I explained why I couldn’t talk and told my caller I’d return the call shortly.
Why then did my clerk look so stunned and give me a hearty “Thank you!”?
Wouldn’t anybody in my position do the same?
I guess not. My clerk said most people simply chat away, oblivious to others’ impatience.
I think that’s pretty rude. What do you think?