Hold the phone

I recently stumbled across a marvelous screed: Why I Love My Dumbphone. In my comment I pointed out that the problem wasn’t one of smart vs dumb phones but one of rude or inconsiderate behavior. Here is an elaboration of my comment:

As I see it, the problem is not smartphones, the problem is bad manners – and that predates smartphones. It doesn’t matter whether you are inconsiderately talking on a dumbphone or inconsiderately updating your Stalkbook… sorry, Facebook page on a smartphone, the result is the same; instant classification as an inconsiderate idiot.

Another problem area is when employers send you requests to do work-related things outside of work hours that you are not paid for. Was 24/7 availability on the table when you were hired? If not, this is an employer/employee boundaries issue; In such situations “I’ll get to it first thing tomorrow” is the order of the day. Doubtless you will be castigated for it, and they will try to get you to give in “just this once”, but stick to your guns; once they get you to cave, it will be easier the second time. To quote Yoda “Once you start down that dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny

As I see it, the problem is not smartphones or technology; the problem is rudeness. So, what constites rudeness? Like obscenity, it is difficult to define, but easy to recognize.

  • People (mostly women) who get into a car, think “who can I call?” and are talking on the phone while they back out of their parking space, and then have the nerve to act surprised when a pedestrian “appears out of nowhere”.
  • People who talk loudly on the phone in a restaurant. If you have to take your work to the dinner table, you are not as important as you think you are.
  • People who drive with a phone clapped to their ear while driving. If you have to talk, use a hands-free device.

So where do we go from here? As Abraham Lincoln once said, “He has the right to criticize who has the heart to help”. In that spirit, here are some helpful hints:

  • Use specific ringtones for family, friends and work. Co-workers – including the boss – can leave a message. That’s what voicemail is for.
  • If you don’t have something to say, don’t make the call.
  • Texting while driving kills – and unlike drunk driving, it’s usually the driver who dies. Don’t do it.

I’m just sayin’…

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