13 cell phone don’ts

Our lives should become less troublesome with each new-fangled technological innovation. But the advent of cell phones has actually created nuisances in many people’s lives.

First and foremost, the ringtones that can be downloaded for cell phones are getting out of hand. When someone has an incoming call, I don’t want to listen to a painful rendition of “Ice Ice Baby” or a voiceover of porn star Jenna Jameson whispering, “Pick up the phone, big boy.”

Then there is the widespread trend of having a cell phone that can also be used as a walkie-talkie. These “beep-beep” phones, as they are so lovingly referred to by everyone jumping on the Nextel bandwagon, are probably the biggest don’t in my book. Being forced to eavesdrop on one side of someone’s telephone conversation is bad enough. There is certainly no need to hear both sides of mindless dialogue about someone’s dinner plans or weekend arrangements.

What’s more, publicly discussing personal matters on your cell phone puts everyone around you in a very uncomfortable situation. Quite simply, I do not need to know that your best friend Shelly caught her boyfriend cheating on her last night or hear about your new unsightly rash.

But whether you are talking about something personal or just chatting about the weather, you are going to look a little crazy if there is no phone in your hand. Although there are instances where wireless headsets are necessary, walking through the mall or around campus is not one of them.

The car, on the other hand, is a great place to use a wireless headset. It’s not so much the fact that one hand is being occupied that makes talking while driving so dangerous. It is that there are a lot of people who will use the other hand to make animated gestures like the person they are talking to can actually see them.

Instead of talking at home or in the privacy of their vehicle, many people chose to use their cell phones in situations where doing so is just plain rude.

For instance, it is common courtesy to either take your call outside or speak softly when talking in a waiting room. Nothing could be more blatantly impolite than holding a cell phone conversation at 60 decibels while everyone else in the room is not making a peep.

Likewise, talking on your cell phone while working out at the gym is extremely inconsiderate. Running on a treadmill for forty minutes is excruciating enough without having to listen to the girl next to you give her friend a play by play of her current mileage and calories burned.

But possibly worse than the gym talkers are the restaurant chatterboxes. These are the people who babble on incessantly at the table, refusing to hang up even when the waitress comes to take their order.

Then there are those people who will answer their phone in circumstances where they should be truly embarrassed that it even rang. Picking up the phone while in class is distracting to other students, and I can’t even begin to explain how disrespectful it is to answer the phone in church.

And let’s be honest. We have all been tempted to stand up and give the guy whose phone rings during a movie a piece of our mind. Besides, what is the sense in answering the phone in the movie theater just to say, “Hey man, let me call you back”? That’s why we have a little thing called voicemail.

However, it is clear that some people are more than familiar with their voicemail. As a college student, I cannot count the number of times I have seen people come out of class and pop open their cell phone like they have been without oxygen for the last hour and 15 minutes.

It’s sad when your phone becomes an appendage of your right hand, but it’s just depressing when it becomes your one and only lifeline. A cell phone does not need to double as a personal computer, camera, arcade or GPS navigating device.

Unfortunately, many cell phone users conduct themselves obnoxiously and tactlessly. The next time you reach for your wireless best friend, remember these 13 things and make every effort to be considerate of those around you.