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Tuesday, July 12, 2005
Cell Phone Etiquette.
Becky has a long and interesting post about cell phones and how many of her clients feel she's at their beck and call 24/7 because she uses her cell phone in her professional life.

Reading the post got me thinking about the rules of cell-phone etiquette. And then I asked myself a burning question--are there any rules of cell phone etiquette? And if there are such rules or considerations, does anyone actually follow them?

Now, I love my cell phone. I got it back in 2001 when I rushed from Knoxville to Nashville in an emergency, got lost in downtown in a less than optimum area and wished I'd had a way to call for directions to where I was going. I decided I'd lived too long without one and took the plunge into a cell phone the next weekend. I've not looked back since--even going so far as to download Rocky Top as my ring-tone for my current cell phone. (Yes, I am just that insane a Tennessee fan). I'e got a flip phone and a belt case that allows me to flip it out just like Captain Kirk did on the original Star Trek. (You have to keep your communicator cell phone on you at all times or else the Enterprise can't lock onto you to beam you up...)

Now, I try to be aware of some things when I use my cell phone. For example, I put it on vibrate mode or turn it off when I'm somewhere that a ringing cell phone might not be a good idea...say for example, church or the movie theater. (I think there should be instant death to any idiot who has his or her cell phone go off during a questions, just a squad of Daleks that take care of business). But more than just the ringing that could irritate people (esp. Bama fans), I find myself appalled at times at not just the rings of the cell phones but at how people use them.

I work out at the Y. I've visited and been to a lot of Y's in my time and travels and yet I've found the same epidimic exists in all of them--namely people who bring their cell phones into the workout area with them. Now, I have a tendency to leave my cell phone locked up in the trunk of my car while I'm working out just because I don't really want to answer the phone while breathing heavily and sounding like a perv if you call me. I will admit, on occasion, I've kept my phone with me, but that is under circumstances like my grandfather is in the hosptial and I want to hear as soon as possible how the surgery went.

But what tends to get my goat a lot of the time isn't necessarily the loud, jarring cell phone ringing while I'm working up a sweat. No, it tends to be the person who takes the call on whatever machine they're using and then will proceed to talk to whomever has called in the LOUDEST VOICE POSSIBLE. Now, often this is becuase the work out area ain't exactly quiet--what with the whirring of all the machines. But doesn't that make you think--you know, it might be best if I found somewhere else to take this call so I can hear what is being said and be heard without being the John Clesse character who likes to shout from Monty Python? I am guessing this thought does not occur to many other people since all in earshot are subjected to whatever conversation this person is having--and it's often not a short one. It tends to last the entire time they are on the machine in question, which can be up to 30 minutes for some. And it's not like there aren't a whole lot of other ways to occupy your attention span while working out..there are TVs, there is music on the radio, you can read or you can stare at all the other people in workout clothes. The possibilities are just endless. And don't get me wrong here--I think there are some calls that are important and should be taken...but not the one about what you might have for dinner and if you think Ethel should go out with Fred or Ricky.

Of course, a lot of this just falls under the area of common courtesy, which seems to be lacking a good bit in the world of late--of thinking about how your actions affect others and/or those around you. Back to the the downtown Y, there is a guy who seems to consistently be there the same time I am a couple of times a week. And he uses the weights to train. How do I know this? It's not huge secret because he grunts loudly enough that people in Clarksville know he's using weights. Seriously, the guy makes enough noise that I swear he must be passing a stone or practicing to be an adult cinema star! And it's always this "One...........uhhhhhhhhhhh!" "Two....uhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!" as if to draw attention to himself and then slams the weights back on the rack as if to say, "Look at me...I'm working out!"

Now, I understand that part of weight training is that you occasioinally have to push the muscles and demand more of them to get stronger. But you'd think this guy was Atlas with the world on his shoulder or something the way he's making noise about it. It doesn't help that he carries on a running dialogue with a group of buddies, all of whom shout things across the gym about how sore they are the next day and how they could barely get out of bed.

Not that guy making grunting sounds is anything that is limited to the downtown Y. I've encountered the same issue in Murfreesboro as well as Y's in Augusta and Knoxville. In Knoxville, I remember one guy in particular used to work out hard with the free weight and then drop them to the floor with a resounding thud. It was loud enough that I felt sure an earthquake was hitting East Tennessee on several occasions.

Now, it may seem as if I've wandered off my original tangent here. And to some extent I have. But I think my point is being made--in today's world it seems as if everyone is becoming more and more self-absorbed and less and less aware of the people around them. It seems to me as if common courtesy is on the decline in a lot of areas of life and it's something like how we use our cell phones that shows it. Don't get me wrong--my cell phone is a wonderful device and I do feel lost without it when I leave it at home sometimes. But it's how we use it that can get so annoying to those around us.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/12/2005 10:09:00 AM | |
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