You are sitting on your lunch break, or someone’s lunch break, having a nice visit and out of nowhere, “Toodle doodle doooooo. Toodle doodle doooo.” Yes, the insistent ring of the cell phone which people seem loath to not answer. We are not far from Pavlov’s Dog these days, no siree. They answer the phone and for the next ten minutes you get to listen to half a conversation with someone and are left wondering, “What was so important about that that it couldn’t have waited until our lunch was over?”
Not that long ago, it was only doctors and drug dealers who had cell phones and pagers. Doctors because their job means they are on call all the time in case of an emergency. Drug dealers because their job means they are on call all the time in case of an emergency. Now that everyone has a cell phone, there seems to be no more personal and private time. What is worse, people have stopped setting those boundaries of personal and private time. People cannot seem to say, “Can I call you back, I am in the middle of something.” or God forbid that they turn off their phone or put it on silent! All of a sudden, people are on call no matter what their job may be all the time and any sense of decorum or propriety have gone right out the window with the advent of the cell phone. Before cell phones, work did not call someone’s house unless in a case of extreme emergency. Having to call someone’s home was embarrassing and met with a series of apologies and pseudo-shame for having invaded someone’s personal home space with issues of work. Somehow, just a few years ago, things could wait until someone came into work or, wait for it, THE NEXT MORNING!
Have things all of a sudden got all the more important that people can be bothered at any time of day or night, regardless? Has everyone in the world lost the smallest bit of patience? People criticise the USA for being a culture of immediate gratification, but most anyone with a cell phone is participating in that very same culture of immediate gratification.
So, no, things have not gotten more important that they cannot wait until the person is in the office. Cell phones have changed the way that people view personal space and office space, and now everything is all the same. I think very few people are paid enough to be on call 16 hours a day, and maybe thinking about that way could make people have better phone manners, especially with regards to work.
But this issue does not only relate to work! People seem to find it acceptable to answer the phone any time it rings, even if spending time with visitors! If one did this while having tea with Hannibal Lector, one would be his next gourmet meal. Why???? Because it is RUDE! It is the ultimate of rude. I may become Hannibal Lector the next time this happens! Watch out!
And all those people who have the handfree sets and walk around the streets talking on them: You look like CRAZY PEOPLE! You look frickin’ INSANE, talking to yourself and laughing to yourself. And why exactly do we all want to hear what the hell you are talking about?!?!? Guess what: WE DON’T! Talking on the phone should be done in private, work should stay at work. Boundaries are important, and rudeness is still rudeness even if EVERYBODY is doing it. That means that most everybody these days is RUDE. Hannibal Lector and I smacking our chops.
Maybe this behaviour is a result of the early symptoms of brain cancer, affecting the areas of the brain that have to do with politeness and manners. Who knows what areas will go next. There must be a lovely recipe somewhere for tongue braised with a garlic wine sauce. Think about that next time.