Monday, January 23, 2006

Mobile phones: The end of society as we know it

Wired News: How to Squelch Your Inner Jackass is a very satisfying rant about mobile phones and how to use them. As I write this, I have someone standing next to my desk having a loud mobile phone conversation in Danish (to add insult to injury, I can't even earjack!). Grr.

Here is the list of "niceties" the author suggests. I actually disagree with the one about the ringtones. The theme to Alias may be inane, but it makes me feel like a secret agent.
  • Don't use your phone in obvious situations where your one-sided conversation can only be disruptive: at the movies, at a concert, in a public auditorium, on an elevator, in a crowded waiting room, etc. I would add city buses to the list, but those are already rolling prison yards for the most part. Use your phone if you must, but use at your own peril.
  • If you're in the middle of a face-to-face conversation with someone, don't take a phone call. It's disrespectful. You can go on the theory that if the incoming call is important enough, the caller will leave you a message. You can then return said call at a more convenient moment, and nobody is offended.
  • If you're expecting an important call and somebody stops by to chat you up, let your buddy know that you might have to take a call. That's fair.
  • Ditch the ring tone and put the phone on vibrate. The only person who cares about an incoming call on your phone is you. Don't worry, you'll feel it. (It feels go-o-o-od.) Most ring tones are not only intrusive, they're inane.
  • Don't have emotional phone conversations in my face. In other words, don't break up with your boyfriend publicly. (Besides, we can't see him and being able to see his reaction is half the fun.) Wait until you get home and then toss his sorry ass out the door.
  • Don't talk on the phone while you're grocery shopping. For whatever reason, the acoustics of a shopping aisle seem to amplify your voice. Also, talking on the phone tends to distract you from what's going on in your immediate vicinity and I need to get around you to reach the Cocoa Puffs.
  • When you're in my cafe, turn off your phone and don't use it at all.
  • Personal note to my son: Using part of a rap song as a voicemail greeting, where the only intelligible words are "bitch" and "fuckah," is not a felicitous way of welcoming an incoming caller. While your friends may find this the height of wit, your employer and professors and parole officer almost certainly will not.

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