Take the time to learn the 10 commandments of cellphone use
Ive admitted in this space before that I dont like phones. In fact, Ive operated the past several years now with just one of those pay-as-you-go flip phones I picked up at Fred Meyer and just purchased enough minutes to get by.
Then I got one for the other person who lives at our house, who was really the only individual I wanted to call anyway (or be called by) and that served our purpose for some time. Then she lost hers. So I gave her mine. Now Im phoneless again, which is still quite all right by me.
Well, not so long ago, I got a new vehicle the one I have to have paid off before I can retire, according to TOPWLAOH and it has Bluetooth, hands-free capability for a smartphone, complete with one of those stubby little antennas on the roof. What really irritates me is, every time I poke a button inside the car to turn on the radio or the CD player it reminds me that I have failed to make a proper Bluetooth connection, and that just makes me feel, well, ashamed.
I still dont mind not having a phone. But I do feel Im not living up to my responsibility as a citizen of our Web-obsessed society. And I have no doubt that if I did have a smartphone, Id be lurching around looking just as dorky as everybody else, my chin on my chest and my eyes on a little screen.
As much as I hate phones, I dont feel that way about computers and devices in general. You dont have to talk on these new phones. You can let your fingers do the talking, which is what Ive been doing for years. You see, Im a lot smarter when my fingers do the talking. When I leave it up to my mouth, I just get in trouble.
Bearing in mind, then, that a lot of you out there no longer use your phones for talking (which is good), I would like to share this information I ran across called the 10 commandments of cellphone use. I actually discovered it last summer, during July, which was labeled then, at least, as National Cell Phone Courtesy Month by something called CableOrganizer.com, an industry-leading eTailer of cellphone, electrical, telecom/datacom, home theater, cable and wire management products. (Lets pause here to catch our breath, shall we?)
I figured because this years National Cell Phone Courtesy Month is just around the corner, I ought to offer the 10 commandments here without any editorial comment of my own. So here they are:
1. Respect those youre with. At some point or another, weve all been out with someone who has checked out of the one-on-one live conversation for a number of minutes to casually shoot the breeze with someone else via cellphone. If you make social plans with someone, they are the first priority and deserve your undivided time and attention.
2. Let voicemail handle non-urgent calls when appropriate. Voicemail exists for a reason; it allows you to take note of non-emergency incoming calls without disrupting the environment you are currently in. If youre at a teacher/parent conference, a meal with your family, a social function immersed in conversations, and other such situations, rest assured your voicemail will be there when a more suitable time to return the call presents itself.
3. Set a good example to the younger generation. Its no surprise that kids learn by example, so keep that in mind when youre modeling cellphone behavior in front of the younger set whether your kids or others. You teach them to say please and thank you, among other social graces, so why stop there? Mind your cellphone Ps and Qs in front of children and teens alike, and youll give them a better shot at becoming model, tech-savvy citizens themselves.
4. Wait to text, and save a life (yours). When you drive and text at the same time, whether reading or composing, youre not only taking your hands off the wheel, but your eyes off the road as well. No text message is worth the risk of injuring, or killing, yourself or others. Wait until you are safely parked to send and return text messages.
5. Stash your cell when dining out. When people spend money on a dinner out, the last thing they want is to become a captive audience to a third party cellphone conversation. If youre eating in public, especially in the company of others, stash the cellphone (and turn off the ringer) until the meal is over everyone, including you, will enjoy themselves much more.
6. Remember when private time is in order. Its easy to identify telltale restroom sounds like echoes, running water and flushing in the background, so if youre taking a time out to answer natures call, dont try to fool anyone end calls before you walk into the restroom, and dont answer or dial again until youve washed and exited.
7. Keep arguments under wraps. Not every cellphone conversation may be a happy one, but that doesnt mean you have license to a public meltdown. Its easy to get wrapped up in an argument, but remember that others cant see or hear the hothead on the other end of the line; all they are aware of is a one-sided screaming match a few feet away. Dont let it be you.
8. Mind your manners. Stories and language that might be entertaining to your closest associates may very well come off as inappropriate or just plain TMI to innocent bystanders, so its smart to live by the following rule: If you wouldnt walk through a busy public place with a particular word or comment printed on your T-shirt, dont use it in cellphone conversations when within earshot of strangers.
9. Dont ignore universal quiet zones. Whether youre in a theater, house of worship, conference room or other standard locale requiring cellphone silence, its imperative to heed the mandate to shut off cellphones completely. Not only so they dont make a notable sound, but also so that intrusive screen light does not distract, both of which are highly disrespectful to those around you.
10. Dont make service personnel wait on you. Theres a growing frustration among cashiers, restaurant waitstaff, counter workers and others in the service trade about customers who expect to be served immediately, yet cant be bothered to interrupt their cellphone conversations or texting marathons to coherently place an order or pay for a purchase. Many service personnel strive to do their job well, and customers distracted by cellphones can undermine their own experience and create a bottleneck with others. Please help them help you.
I couldnt have said it (any of it) better.
Former editor of the Times newspapers and the Lake Oswego Review, Kelly is now chief of the central design desk for Community Newspapers and the Portland Tribune, and he contributes a regular column.Add a comment