Mind your cell phone manners, please

Published 9:27 am Thursday, April 29, 2010

A few years ago, in my home state of New York, a judge was removed from the bench after he had 46 people arrested in his courtroom.

The incident occurred in 2005 during hearings for domestic violence offenders.

So, why did he do it? Was there a massive riot? Nah. Were there bothersome protesters in attendance? Nope. The Niagara Falls judge’s reason was a little simpler: a cell phone rang, interrupting court proceedings.

When no one would hand the cell phone over, the judge reportedly announced to everyone they had just received a free trip to jail. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.

And so off they went…all 46…to be searched and crammed into a cell and all because of a cell phone.

I can’t say I blame the judge, it would be bliss to be able to throw obnoxious cell phone users in the tank to sit next to Bubba for an hour or two without their precious device.

Actually, I would settle on just being able to throw their phone into a deep pit with deadly vipers where it could never be retrieved.

By all means I’m not against cell phones…I own one myself. They’re completely useful when you’re away from your family or when you have an emergency.

But out of my technology-fed frustration has come a list of “types” for the normal factions of society to beware.

“I know I’m rude cell phone user and I don’t care”

These are those loud people that stand ahead of you at the grocery line and scream into the cell phone. In a writer’s world and for printing purposes, THEY TALK LIKE THIS!

As many of us here at the News-Herald office would say, “Someone tell them it’s not a can.”

You can pretty much follow along with the whole conversation and occasionally you hear stuff you never wanted to know about that particular person.

The real seller with these types is that no matter how many disgusted looks they get…they never get it.

“Yeah, I’m cool because I’m on/have a cell phone”

I’m pretty sure with this type of cell phone user the following scenario occurs each morning as they head out the door.

They stop to check their refection in the mirror, tousle their hair, reach into their pocket/purse, pull out the cell phone and hold it to their ear.

Then there’s a wink and a nod, perhaps, a lick of the lips and out the door they go.

They are the narcissists of the phone world.

There is a part of me that often wonders if this type actually is on a phone call or if they’re just talking to the voice in their heads and pretending to be on a phone call.

You can tell this type as when they are in “deep” conversation they check to see who is looking at them.

“My cell is my lifeline”

No, it’s not unless you’re a 13-year-old girl.

“No, I can not hang up to talk to you because you are not important”

I’m sure our Circulation Manager Brenda Adams loves these people. If she had a dollar for every time this type rolled into the office, she would be forwarding each of her subscription calls to a vacation home somewhere in San Tropez.

If you work for a business where you are required to help people when they come through the door, then you’ll know how awkward it is to talk to a person who is yammering away on their cell phone.

Often in the News-Herald it goes this way:

Customer: “Really? I can’t believe it…Yeah, I’m here to renew my subscription…No, no don’t do that.

Employee: “What? You don’t want to renew your subscription?”

Customer: “No, I do want to renew my subscription…No don’t do that!”

Employee: “OK, do you want to renew or not?”

Customer: “Yes! So, what are you doing tonight?”

Employee: “What am I doing tonight?”

Customer pulls phone away from their mouth and whispers, “No, I’m on the phone.”

Employee: “Oh, really…I see…well don’t mind me for putting you on HOLD until you’re off the phone.”

Please remember to mind your cell phone manners.

Amanda VanDerBroek is a Staff Writer for the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald. For comments and column suggestions email: amanda.vanderbroek@r-cnews.com or call (252) 332-7209.