People love to hear themselves talk. And since everyone has a cell phone now, they can hear themselves talk all the time.
I don't like cell phones, but I succumbed to their convenience about five years ago. Prior to that, I thought they were an accoutrement of the upper class and their children; this assumption stemmed mostly from my disgust with the phones suddenly materializing in the free hand of every girl at TCU "steering" a high-end SUV or luxury sedan circa '96.
Now they are inescapable.
Like most other consumer electronics, the democratization of the cell phone occurred when the handsets became affordable enough for the average schlub or annoying teenager to buy one, which brings us to the present, in which there is no respite from idiots yammering away with their hands resting at their temples, apparently beaming harmful radiation directly into their brains.
I don't know about radiation thing, but cell phones definitely bring out the absolute worst in people. They are inherently disruptive. They contribute to automobile accidents by causing drivers to become dangerously aloof. They make quiet people louder, and loud people insufferable. They hold innocents hostage to their user's conversations. They ruin movies. They hold up dinners, disturb fellow diners, and perturb waiters. They infuse people with an undue sense of self-importance. They are the electronic embodiment of passive-aggressive behavior.
But I have one, and the periods during which I have gone without have demonstrated that my life was better off with mobile connectivity. But I have a code of personal cell phone ethics, that I do my utmost not to violate. I think if everyone were to follow my code, people would be less inclined to take offensive phones and shove them in the ass of their offensive operators.
1. Never, under any circumstances, are you to answer the phone during a movie. Don't text message either. That's nearly as bad. If you don't intend to give a film your full attention, then why did you even bother entering the theater? That sounds like a waste of your money, and when you fuck around with your phone, or God expressedly forbid, answer it, then you have wasted mine, and I reserve the right to remove the phone from your hand and propell it with maximum force against the hardest surface I can find, even if that means walking out into the parking lot.
2. Don't answer your phone during any kind of monetary transaction. Simply put, it's rude to have a conversation when you're interacting with a cashier, waiter, hooker, mugger, etc. They are people too, and you should treat them with the dignity you would want if you were on the other side of the counter or the curb. Not only that, but by not focusing on the task at hand, you are holding up lines. And lines don't need to be held up any more than they already are. That lady with the discount t-shirts without pricetags and the four whiny children circling around her shins has already got it covered. She doesn't need any line-blocking help from you.
3. Stop shouting! If your party can't hear you, then one of you needs a new phone. You may think you are making your voice clearer to your listener, but the only one who can hear you better is the rest of us. And we don't want to.
4. You may have to answer your phone while driving, but that doesn't mean you need to engage in lengthy pillow talk or sermons. The longer somebody talks on the phone while driving, the more they forget that they are directing heavy blocks of metal at harmful velocities.
5. Don't have conversations on the phone when you're in the car with a bunch of people. Have you ever been in the car with that guy who has to call his friend and tell him how to get to the party? Why is he so fucking loud, and why does he think he's so funny? And why don't we drop him off on curb?
6. Don't wear your phone on a belt. What, are you Batman? You don't put your keys or your wallet on your belt; why would put your phone? It's only okay to clip things to your belt if you are the type of person who builds things, fixes things or fights crime. Otherwise, stick it in your pockets.
I guess these rules are mostly a means for me to let go of a personal indignation. A long time ago, I ascribed a certain class-conflict to cell phone use, and to my credit, the only people I saw using them were people in higher tax bracket. I still get irritated when I see some woman obliviously plowing down the road in her Escalade, blathering into her V3 Razr. And that guy in the boarding queue on my flight, shouting into the weird earpiece mic thing about sales reports and verticals, who is so important and busy that he has to utilize every moment he can conducting business? Well he needs a foot up his ass too. A lot of people are just jerks; I just wish they'd extend some courtesy to the rest of us, but I've come to accept that everyone has a cell phone now, and I should probably shut up about it.
Too bad I love to hear myself talk.