Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Let me call you back in a minute.

One of the biggest changes I have observed that has occurred with young people since I was one of them (which wasn't that long ago, I might add), is the advent of cell phones. When I was a kid and wanted to call my friend, I sat in my kitchen, tied to the wall by a 10 foot long tangly, coiled brown cord. Untangling the cord was a puzzle in and of itself, keeping my fingers busy while I chatted with someone. We were taught phone etiquette - things like saying "May I ask who's calling?" and "No, but may I take a message?"

I don't think this was a bad thing. Phone conversations stayed in their appropriate social place. When we went out to dinner or to a movie, we spent time together - the only interruptions were the waiter or a kid having a tantrum several seats over.

I also don't thing cell phones are bad things. I have had a few dire situations where I have needed them - getting lost, car trouble, my own kid having a tantrum. And it certainly is nice to be able to call someone to see what you need to bring to the potluck that's on Saturday which you just remembered while you're standing in the produce section.

Tonight at a restaurant, I had to take my daughter to the ladies' room. While helping her navigate the taller-than-normal commode, I heard a young woman come in talking. It didn't take long for me to realize it was a one-sided conversation, and even less time to figure out that was because she was on her cell phone. She never stopped talking - she went into the stall, did her business, flushed the very loud commode (you know how public bathrooms are! Kids always cover their ears!), and she didn't even say anything to the person on the other end as an excuse!

This experience was a good reminder in cell phone etiquette. So here's a phrase to practice, to save our friends and family from this and other embarrassments:

"Let me call you back in a minute."

Because, even though the phone can go anywhere, doesn't mean we want to go in there with you!

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