I use my cell phone. A lot. For calls, texts, reviewing emails, finding restaurants/directions/the weather, games, to take pictures, to listen to music, as a flashlight; its uses are seemingly endless–sometimes extremely helpful, other times trivial but fun.
However, there are times to turn off the ringer, silence the texting fingers. When I am out to dinner with friends, we might leave our phones on the table in case our children call. But, when it is constantly alerting that a new text has arrived, distracting the friend from our conversation to some unknown, it becomes rude. If you would rather be with the person on the other end, then leave. And answering emails while at dinner, wow. Go home! When asked why someone was going through her emails, a friend replied “Oh, I’m just cleaning out the junk emails.” Not on my limited time, please.
And store clerks, they are people too! I hang up the phone, acknowledge the people waiting on me, as I find it EXTREMELY rude to act like your conversation about your family squabbles is far more important than the person standing opposite you. I watched a woman yak-yak-yak through the grocery store, while her purchases were rung up and bagged, while she left the store, and then she circled the parking lot with her overflowing cart as she could not find her car, still yak-yak-yaking.
The dental office has a “phone zone” room, but there are people who ignore it. Answering a short call is okay, but if you are going to go on about your business prowess, please use that room so I don’t hurl on your feet. Do you think you are on stage, others glorying in your words? Wrong assumption.
My phone is extremely useful. It is beneficial to be able to multi-task, catch up while not chained to my home, making short work calls while working at my Caribou Coffee “office”, telling family the train is late or practice is cancelled, alerting people about emergency situations, just saying “Hi. How are you?”.
But please, spend time with the people you are with, live in the moment, not across the wireless lines, unless it’s truly important. If you need an intravenous feeding to your phone, please do it on your own time.
When my kids have friends sleep over, I take their phones later in the evening. My daughter and her friend actually asked me to remove phones from an upcoming birthday party. “They just cause drama,” they told me. I know that texting is the culprit for them, but we should all do that. Put the phone away, say HI to the people around us. Don’t hide behind your phone. And remember not to ignore the people in front of you, whether you know them or not. C