Today, technology brings American consumers new and better conveniences. And with these innovations comes a new code of good manners as well as concern about the awareness of our surroundings by those distracted by these new conveniences.
This lack of awareness for people and things around the cell phone texter prompted the passing of a law prohibiting the use of cell phones while driving. It also appears that we need to remind cell texters/callers to watch where they are walking while texting.
A rise in accidents among users who text while walking with their head buried in their cell phones is on the rise. YouTube videos show a cell phone user so involved in texting that she tripped and fell right into a mall water fountain.
There’s no doubt that many of us are guilty of bad manners once in a while. Cell phones and the ensuing mobility they give us may be responsible for a large part of this lapse in manners.
The mobile phone inspires us to engage in public conversations with friends and colleagues any time and any place.
Oblivious to people around us, we carry on private conversations while squeezing tomatoes at the grocery store, trying on a dress at the shopping mall or, worst of all, sitting in our doctor’s waiting room.
Bystanders aren’t interested in hearing long-winded conversations between cell phone users and their baby sitters, stock brokers or friends.
And no one wants to hear someone howling at their kids for five minutes, or exchanging recipes with Aunt Martha, or discussing stock options while in line at the supermarket.
Manners Out The Door
Recently, I invited an old friend for tea. I hadn’t seen her in a long time so I was eager for her arrival. Upon hearing her car door slam, I sprang to my feet and flung open my front door.
But instead of a friendly hug, I was given a dispassionate nod, and I had to wait while she continued to finish up a text conversation on her cell phone.
My friend continued her robust typing a good five minutes before finally removing the uninvited, cellular intruder from sight. I realize that my friend is a busy career woman, and business must be conducted regularly on her cell phone. But it’s just plain good manners to finish her phone texting while in her car and turn off her cell phone long enough to greet me properly.
Then there’s “call waiting,” a function that ranks high on my list of offending habits.
“Call interrupted” is probably a better name for this service. I can’t imagine anything more aggravating than to be right in the middle of a profound statement – just about to make a point – and the person on the other end of the line stops me cold with: “Hold on, I’ve got another call.”
Whenever I have to hold while someone answers their call-waiting, I can’t help feeling that they are making a decision as to which conversation to terminate – mine or the new caller’s. So, inevitably, one caller will always feel slighted. As for me, I’d rather just get an old-fashioned busy signal.
Recently, when I phoned someone at an inconvenient time, my friend answered the phone in grudging monosyllables, hoping her obvious annoyance would cut the conversation short.
It worked, but I doubt I’ll be calling her back anytime soon. It would have been much nicer had she simply asked me to call back at a better time.
Too often, we reserve our good manners for special occasions only, when we should employ these traits every day of our lives.