Cell phones. Amazing little multi-functional devices. How did people exist before them?
I held off quite a long time. But now with the disappearance of payphones, sometime back I finally got one. And I’ll confess, now I rather like having it.
I sometimes wonder about how much life has changed in the short lifetime of my parents or grandparents, and little things like this are the sparks that sometimes start that wondering. My grandmother would have probably grown up without a phone in her home. My mother and father can remember having a party line out on the farm in the country. I remember having multiple phones in the house – with cords! I remember my small town not having touchtone service in most homes, and my university switching from chasing about from a barn to various university buildings to mandatory touchtone registration for courses. (a very welcome modern change I might add…but I did it during winter break from a payphone in my hometown as we didn’t have touchtone service in our home. What a sight I must have been juggling a timetable, my notes, and my desire to get my classes and feed the machine with change!)
And now everyone in my family has and carries cellphones.
I have noticed that society hasn’t quite figured out etiquette around polite usage of cell phones. I’ve recently learned that my city is at the top of the list for cell-phone addiction. (what pride to wear on our sleeves!) I figure a ringing phone can and should be ignored when you’re dealing with people, friends or store personnel, that are in front of you. That’s my opinion, and I’m sticking with it.
Now, I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again. Sometimes a ringing phone should appropriately be allowed to ring unanswered. The world will not stop.
I had an interesting recent experience at work. I’m a pharmacist, and it’s a one-pharmacist show much of the time. Folks can’t leave with their prepared meds without me checking in with them. My lunch breaks get interrupted to have that (usually brief) check-in. And I don’t mind. It’s part of what I do, and I knew that when I got into the field, and the employer I chose. It’s not unusual for a pharmacy with my volume to be a one-pharmacist show. It’s okay. But it also means I’m somewhat chained to my pharmacy. I pack bag lunches. I race to and from the restroom…
One day I’m in the restroom…
(the connection is coming…brace yourself)
…a public restroom in a medical facility and in the stall next to me, the cell phone begins to ring. In the space of nanoseconds response time, I’m finding myself quite culturally intrigued. Will she answer it? Will she have an embarrassed giggle across the stall to me, the unknown stall-wall person?
She answered it. I think it would be voyeurish for me to share even a general description of the content, but I will share this much: that the length of the conversation was more than merely, “this isn’t a good time, can I call you right back?” It went on long enough that I had a decision to make: should I flush? I really did need to return to work. (?)
I did. Not my problem that she is taking calls on a cell phone in a public restroom, right? She can explain that away to her caller. (ha ha, slightly mischievous giggle.)
I proceeded to wash my hands of course, too. The conversation kept going and I heard it continue as I moved my way down the hall….
People are interesting, that’s all I can say.