I love technology. It’s why I got into information technology in the first place. When I was 15, I had a TRS-80 Model I computer that my father brought home from work and I took to it like a fish to water. Over time, I turned my passion for that hobby into a profession. Makes sense, right? I mean, if I’m going to have to work, might as well enjoy what I do for work.
Over 30 years later, I still love technology. I own a computer, a laptop, a game console (seriously!), two MP3 players, a web cam, and a cell phone.
Ugh. The cell phone. Don’t get me wrong, I like my cell phone. It comes in handy for those times where I need to call someone because something has come up. In other words, for an emergency. What turns my stomach is the way some people use their cell phones, to the point of being inconsiderate towards others. Let me give you one example that happened today.
The employment assistance centre that is helping me with my job search informed me that Target is holding an information session for job-seekers this morning about their expansion into Canada. I’ve never shopped at Target before, but I’ve heard nothing but good things about the retail chain from friends and family members who shopped there during a vacation in the USA. Since I am looking for work, any work, I said to myself, “Why not?”, and registered.
Before the information session started, the presenter asked everyone to please mute or turn off their cell phones as a courtesy to others. A simple request, no? Apparently not, as I and a few others soon found out….
About twenty minutes into the information session, two rows back from where I was sitting, I hear the most annoying musical chatter. Not sure if it was a song but it was annoying. I turned to look behind and saw a young woman in her twenties reach for her cell phone…….and start texting. Not mute it. Not turn it off. To text, grinning while her thumbs bounced up and down on the keypad. Every time she struck a key, it made a little *bip* sound. She was completely oblivious to the fact that I and other people around her were now looking right at her. She just kept right on texting what she thought was a masterpiece on her phone while grinning like a mad woman. I cleared my throat to get her attention, and she saw me looking at her with a Penance Stare that would have made even Ghost Rider recoil in horror. The grin disappeared and she put the phone away.
That should have been the end of that. It wasn’t.
Nearly 10 minutes later, I hear a default Nokia ringtone. You know the one I’m talking about: BAH dah da dah, dah da dah, da DAH! Once again, I turn around. Five rows back, directly behind me, was some morbidly obese man, leaning back in his chair with his legs spread, answering his phone. He had the phone speaker volume at maximum (<sarcasm>naturally, the way it’s supposed to be set</ sarcasm>), so everyone gets to hear what sounds like the background chatter you hear at Houston’s Mission Control during a shuttle launch. Every few seconds he responds with a grunt that sounds like a line from that Muppets song but played REALLY slow. “Munuh-ahuh”. “Munuh-ahuh”. Over and over. I give him the Penance Stare. This time it does not work. He’s looking right at me but I don’t think he can see me glaring at him. He’s so absorbed with his conversation with Mission Control he’s forgotten where he is right now. After a minute (felt like a minute, anyways) he puts the phone away, still looking at me and wondering why I am so rudely glaring at him.
As the information session continues, more cell phones ring but this time I don’t even bother trying to find the source. I just try as best I can to listen to the Target representatives talk about their company and what they can offer job-seekers like me. I mean, I’m here for a purpose, one obviously different from those who just wanted a place to sit in order to use their cell phones.
Look, I’m not against people using cell phones. As I said, I use one myself. Having said this, my parents once told me “There’s a time and place for everything”. Chattting on a cell phone during an information session where everyone is supposed to be quiet is not an example of that. For those of you who really like using cell phones — a lot — please, please, show courtesy and respect for those around you. In fact, here’s a link to help brush up on the socially acceptable use of cell phones. No need to thank me.
Thanks for reading
P.S. I’m going to hate the day the TTC allows cell phone use on the subways.