The Smart Phone in the Room

Where do you draw the line when everyone seems to be more interested than what's going on on their phone instead of what's right in front of their face?

Am I the only one who hates smart phones? Maybe not the phones themselves, but what goes with them? Ok, so I have one but only because my phone was so old and beaten down I could barely receive a phone call. When trying to replace the phone, the pricing plans make it impossible to buy anything but a smart phone. So I joined the technological age. Grudgingly.


Here is what I’ve noticed though, and it is something I’ve been noticing for awhile. People assume because you have a smart phone that you are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If my phone rings and I’m talking to someone, paying the cashier, or in the bathroom, chances are I’m not going to answer. People don’t seem to understand that. They think it’s a cell and magically when it rings, life all around you stops so that you can answer that call.


There seems to be a disconnect with having a phone and having manners. What is better than sitting at lunch with a friend trying to catch up while she asks you to hold on every few seconds because she received a text? How valuable do you feel when sitting there waiting for your turn but it never comes because the texts don’t stop coming in and all 50 are much more important than the conversation you’re trying to engage in?


Forget the hands free law while driving. I’d like there to be hands free while sitting and talking with a friend. It happens often enough that I’ve started avoiding social situations with certain people because if I want to dine alone, I will. I actually began texting one friend I was lunching with. She laughed as if it was a joke missing the point that the only way I was able to talk to her was by sending her a text.  Unless your house is on fire please don’t make me sit there while you answer all of your phone calls and text messages. And no, I don’t believe for one second that when we’re having lunch and you’re checking Facebook or Tweeting that those constitute emergencies either. The occasional call or text is one thing, but when entire interactions consist of everyone but the two people sitting at the table, there’s a problem.


It isn’t just friends though. I went to physical therapy not long ago and the physical therapist actually answered his Blackberry and then carried on a conversation while working on my neck with one hand. He stopped and I thought he realized how rude and unprofessional he was being, but no, he was sharing a joke with the therapist standing two feet from him. After they shared their laugh, he went back to his phone conversation. I laid there dumbfounded.


Do I miss the days when we had one phone in the house with the cord that was always stretched as far as possible for privacy? No. But what happened to our communication? What magical power does that little phone have that makes it so irresistible? Why can’t we ignore that special ringtone when we are with a friend, working, in a store, at the doctor? What earth shattering news is coming in that can’t wait a few minutes or even an hour?


I’ll have to be honest and say I’ve had my guilty moments too. It was new and while I resisted the technology, I have grown to love it too. I love being able to access information, talk to friends, check Facebook statuses, and even figure out how to tell the world about my day in 140 characters or less. But I have also realized when it crosses the line of being excited about something new and being rude. A text may be a quick way to communicate but it will, for me, never replace a phone conversation or face to face with a friend. Am I alone in this or did you all stop reading awhile back to post on Facebook?

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Cathy April 28, 2012 at 11:47 PM
I totally agree. Its so rude & i see it daily. I was at a comedy club the other night. About 6 or 7 comedians came on. 1 poor guy just flopped. People started picking up their phones, texting, showing others at the table things on their phones. I felt so bad for the poor guy on stage. Can you imagine how he felt? They couldnt grin & bear it for the poor guy & wait until the show was over?!
Kristen Ferrari April 29, 2012 at 02:24 AM
Cathy, I never understood that kind of rudeness. Smart phones just enhance a rude person's behavior.
the baby April 29, 2012 at 03:48 AM
don't even get me started! We used to wait in line for the phone booths with the doors and pray that the fan in the top of the booth would start up when we unfolded them. Yeah, those things. So, now, when my friends get on my case about smoking, I propose a challenge. I will give up smoking if they give up their phone, Blackberry, whatever. They often light my cigarette for me...
Kristen Ferrari April 29, 2012 at 04:19 AM
Oh Susanne, you make me miss smoking! Seriously, I remember waiting for phone booths. I think cell phones are great and laugh when my kids are out at the thought of not being able to reach them every 20 seconds of the day, but just can't believe that there are people who think whatever is going on on the phone is always more important than whatever is happening right in front of their face.


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