Don’t put a ring on it

Castlgar News bi-weekly columnist has mixed feelings about cutting edge communication capability

Karen Haviland

Do you hear that scraping sound? That’s me dragging out the old soap box gearing up for my rant.

Before I do that though, I’d like for all of you to do me a favour and turn off your cell phones. Yup, that’s right, I said turn them off. Don’t switch them to vibrate and don’t pretend you’re turning them off. I know the tricks. Just turn them off.

Do I have your full attention now that you have turned them off? Yes? Good!

I love cell phones. It’s much better than when I grew up and always had to keep a quarter in my pocket for that elusive emergency phone call I might have to make from a phone booth. Phone booth? you might ask? Yeah kids, it’s those glass and metal upright coffins with a phone in them that you might have seen once in Small Town Canada.

Nowadays it’s easy to keep in touch when one has a cell phone. It’s even better when you really don’t feel like talking to someone and text them instead. Much simpler.

But cell phones have their time and place.

A while back my husband and I were having a bite to eat in a local restaurant when this sweet, young family came in along with either his, or her, parents. It was touching to watch this three generation family sit down to have lunch. Besides the parents and grandparents, there was a young boy of about two, and a newborn. And I mean newborn, as in just out of the oven newborn. It was a nice scene, a family dining together without the disruption of the TV or doorbell.

That nice scene abruptly ended with the ringing of a cell phone, which was promptly answered by the father of the young family. While he was chatting on his cell, another cell phone rang.

To my amazement, the father pulled a cell phone out of his pocket and began talking on that one as well. Yes, you read this right: he had TWO cell phones. He must have been super important to have not one, but two cell phones, which he just had to answer while dining with his family. Worse yet, throughout the entire meal the young man carried on conversation after conversation, all the while ignoring the grandparents, his wife and his two children.

I was thoroughly disgusted. So much for quality family time.

Then there are the numerous times when I was in line at a check out, and all the while, the person in front of me, couldn’t put down the cell phone the cashier was ringing up their goods. Rude. Just flat out rude.

And don’t get me started about the many, many times people have bumped into me because they were too busy texting to look up and see that there were actually people and vehicles around them.

Am I beginning to sound like a crotchety old woman to you? I’m really not. Not at all. It’s just that I believe that no matter how old you are, or how young, there is still such a thing as plain, good old-fashioned courtesy.

Then there’s also the added aspect about safety. Tell me, how do you manage to operate a vehicle full of unruly, rambunctious children on a freeway and text? Seriously?

As I said, cell phones are truly a wonderful adventure. However, there is a time and place for everything, including cell phones.

Do yourself, your family and those around you, a favour will you? Would you please turn off your cell phones during family meals and while on the road?

All too soon your family will soon be grown and on their way. Hopefully they will remember and appreciate the quality time you spent with them without a cell phone stuck to your ear. If not, don’t count on too many phone calls home from their cell.

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