Off Topic: Top Ten Tuesday (Cell Phone Etiquette)

Maybe it’s just me. I’m not a frequent caller, so when I do show up on the caller ID people assume it’s important. Or maybe not. Just in case, here’s a post on my pet peeve of the week.

News flash: it is not mandatory to pick up every call.

My cell phone comes with a few handy buttons for when I can’t take a call. There’s the volume button, which permits me to turn off the sound. There’s the red-phone End button, which permits me to shut it up and deny a call. And there’s also the option of “send to voicemail” on most recent smartphone models.

So, here’s an off-topic top ten for Tuesday (a la BoSD and with her help)

Top Ten Times Not to Pick Up Your Cell Phone

1 – In class. Yes, I know. The lights are off and the projector is on, you’re sitting in the back and stage whispering so he can’t hear you over the sound of his own voice. Please: don’t.

2 – When you can’t talk – eg: juggling a screaming baby while making dinner, driving, etc. I’m not trying to victimize you. If you can’t take the call, don’t.

3 – When you’re sleeping. For love of somnia! I really don’t need the guilt of hearing your “just woke up” voice on the other end, no matter how much you assure me that you had to get up in just a few minutes anyway.

4 – When you’re davening. For starters, you shouldn’t be looking at your phone when you’re talking to God. But in either case, do you really think you can address my concerns using a vocabulary comprised entirely of “nu nu, uh uh”?

5 – When you don’t have service or are about to lose it. “Hi I’m about to go underground *crackle crackle* ble—“ was not exactly what I had in mind when I called.

6 – When you’re currently speaking to someone more important. First off, it’s kind of rude to put your mother/boss on hold so you can tell your friend that you can’t talk to her. Especially since that’s exactly what I’d assume if you just didn’t pick up. And I’d also assume that you’d return my call, so there’s no need to tell me that either. So just send me to voicemail and finish you conversation.

7 – When you’re in a crowded noisy place and won’t be able to hear. Phones pick up sound a whole lot better than they receive it. I’ll hear everything but you, and you won’t be able to hear me anyway.

8 – While in the bathroom. ‘Nuff said. Just call me back.

9 – When you’re out with friends. Because you’re going to start out being friendly, and just when we hit the purpose of the conversation, you’re going to realize how rude you’re being and ask me to call back later. A waste of both of our time and rude to your friends anyway.

10 – When you’re expecting an important phone call from someone else exactly now, and will practically hang up on me when it comes.

I don’t know why, but I’d much rather be sent to voicemail then get a voice and be told that I can’t talk to it. Anyone with me?

Rumor or Not… PSA

There was some shocked whispering among Good4 and her friends this past holiday afternoon. Apparently a former classmate hit a man while texting and driving and the poor fellow is in critical condition. That wasn’t really what horrified them, though. What horrified them was that she had to be bailed out of jail for yom tov. Crime? Reckless endangerment, possibly manslaughter. Sentence? They were murmuring about years.

Or something like that. I’m not sure how reliable Good4 and her friends are as news sources. But that’s not the point.

There’s a vague, perhaps smug assumption that since we’re all good moral people who don’t mug people on street corners, drink and drive, or sell drugs, we’ll never land in jail or otherwise rub shoulders with the sort of people who do. Sure, we may rip CDs we don’t own or download textbooks or speed, run stop signs, and not declare every bit of cash income on our tax returns, but that’s small stuff and doesn’t hurt anyone – at least not anyone we know – and not very much.

I don’t remember the context, but some enthusiastic teacher in my past hammered into my head the phrase “Adam mu’ad li’olam.” A person is always responsible for his/her actions. So, for example, if you’re in control of a couple of tons of metal and glass machinery capable of reaching high speeds and acquiring large amounts of momentum – which means it’s not so easily stopped or redirected – you are responsible to take care that it doesn’t harm anyone. If you’re in a congested area where the situation can change in a moment, you are expected to take extra special care in directing your heavy machinery.

And no, it is not freakin’ cool to text, post, write, type, dial, read, or otherwise distract yourself from your windows and mirrors with a phone, BlackBerry, iPod, iPad, iTouch or any other gadget web-enabled or not. You (yes, innocent lil ol’ you) could wind up being guilty of causing someone’s death.


Yep, killing. Comes with a jail sentence too. Cool, no?

One thing I wonder: what was her text about? Was it worth it?

PS: This one out of Australia courtesy of SiBaW (warning: it’s graphic, but hey, that’s life. Or could be.)