phoneby Robert Gillis
Published in The Foxboro Reporter August 2002

I need to vent.

Can you hear me now?


Can you please hang up that silly phone?

Okay. I’ll admit it, I hate cell phones.

Don’t get me wrong—cell phones are a great invention. They keep kids in touch with parents. They make life much easier on many levels and prevent misunderstandings and keep people connected. They are great to have when your car breaks down in the middle of nowhere at 4am. Life is undeniable easier with them, and best of all, they give Jamie Lee Curtis something to do.

I’m not saying cell phones are bad. I’m saying they are intrusive, loud, often completely unnecessary and downright annoying. So I hate them.

Do you really need one to check with home three times between aisles three and four? “Honey, I’m in the canned good aisle now, and the jumbo beans are 2 for a dollar, not 3 for a dollar. What should I do?”

What’s even more offensive is the people in restaurants taking calls while they’re having dinner with someone else. The message is obvious: “This call is more important than my time with you.”

How about at the movies? Not only do some people not shut the ringer off, but also they answer the phone during the movie and carry on a conversation: “Hi, yeah, I can’t talk, I’m at the movies. Yeah. No, it’s pretty good. Yeah. I can’t talk now… Yeah, it’s a good movie.”

Hang it up!

And must the rest of us be privy to your conversation? A few weeks ago I was on the MBTA and found out that Steve is getting a divorce. I don’t know Steve but the young lady on her cell phone was yammering on and on about what a jerk Steve was. Did I care? Nope. Was I forced to listen? Yep, for ten stops on the Red Line.

Then there was the woman squeaking loudly and emotionally on her phone. The language may have been Romulan, or Klingon, but to me it was just loud.

And don’t even get me started about the people who take cell phone calls while they’re otherwise occupied in the bathroom stall. That’s just yucky. Remember we used to wonder why the phone always rang when we were in the bathtub? Well, at least we didn’t bring the phone into the bathroom with us!

But it’s not just the people using them, it’s the phones themselves. They’re loud. Are you all deaf? Is there a reason the ringer is so loud that the Tweeter Center just called ands asked you to turn it down?

And it would be nice if the “ringer” were just a “ringer.” But no, these cell phones screech like a banshee and play lengthy songs like “Yellow rose of Texas,” compositions by Mozart and “take me out to the ballgame.” And for some reason I have yet to fathom, people like to listen to the ringing tune over and over. They pick up the phone, determine who’s calling (this usually takes 30 seconds) and they stare at the damned device while my eardrums implode and my blood pressure jumps. The nose is like chalk on a blackboard and I find myself twitching whenever they ring.

Answer it, will you?

Cell phone commercials advise you to exercise care when using a cell phone while driving. They ask, “Will this call distract me from my most important task of driving this car?” I’d go further—would taking this call bother other people? Would it annoy others? Can I speak quietly without sharing my business with other people? Can this call wait until I’m out of the bathroom?

Okay, so I’m venting, but I know I’m not alone in this. Bottom line—cell phones are a wonderful invention that have improved our lives and communication in many ways and we would be lost without them. But please, exercise a little more considering for those around you when you use them.

There, I feel better now.

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