Letter: cellphone users need to be more considerate

Recently, I saw the ultimate in silly cell-phone behavior. I was at the golf course in Medicine Hat and after my round of golf, I headed to the washroom. Sidling up to one of the urinals, I looked to the left, and there was a very tall golfer doing his thing. He had one hand down below and one hand on his cell-phone up beside his ear.

His conversation was with his wife, and he was arguing with her about a shopping trip they were going to go on together. It was clear he was paying more attention to the phone than to the job at hand. However, eventually that task was finished, and he continued his harangue with his wife as he exited the washroom.

Later, he was in the pro shop buying plastic tees and a sleeve of golf balls, and he was still on the phone. All of us could hear his yakking, and this time it was to his lawyer about a property acquisition. None of us wanted to hear about this matter, but he never considered us as important in any way.

I don’t know what those of you in the community think about these two situations, but the first situation was a bit “off.” Probably if this guy had purchased an open snack, he would have gone to the urinal with the snack in one hand while the other hand was performing the same necessary function.

The second situation was an example of inconsiderate behavior. What this golfer should have done was leave his cell-phone in his pocket and deal with his retail purchase. Perhaps he could even have exchanged a few comments with the pro-shop clerk.

After that, he could have gone to a far corner or just outside the shop and talked to his lawyer. That way the rest of us would not have felt polluted by his verbal outbursts — and we would still have felt human.

The general rule is to allow a space of at least three to four meters between you and others who are in the vicinity. More space even than that would be preferable. A friend of mine won’t cell-phone talk in the living room if it rings while I’m there. He takes his phone and goes into another room.

Another desired behavior is to leave the cell-phone in your purse or pocket or car when you go shopping. There is nothing more irritating than the person who starts his or her bosom-buddy phone call while entering a long lineup, and then continues it for the next 15 minutes as he or she moves forward in the lineup.

You’d think the babbling idiot would stop when reaching the clerk, but the clerk is treated as if she’s an automaton or a “nobody.” The conversation itself really was not about much — comments on various relatives and annoying neighbours — and it continued ad nauseum out the door of the store.

I think that before smart phones can be purchased, users should have to take a course — something like “civilized cell-phone behavior.” Selkirk College could be signed up to deliver the course, and Nokia, Samsung, and Apple could only sell these devices once a “ccb” certificate was presented.

Failing that, each of the smart phone providers should have to present all cell-phone purchasers with a tiny booklet outlining proper etiquette when using cell phones.

I’ve seen all sorts of not-so-smart phone behavior, and I’ve heard numerous conversations I didn’t want to be part of. I think it’s time for all cell phone users to learn what is appropriate and what is not. The rest of us should speak up when confronted by inappropriate usage.