The Last Refuge... invaded...
July 6, 2000 7:40 AM   Subscribe

The Last Refuge... invaded... Yes, I have a cell phone. Yes, I use it. But, I turn if off any place it would be rude to be having a full-voiced conversation, because I hate it when people make or take a call in those situations. I'd always sort of enjoyed the fact that the airlines claim they'll screw up navigation systems; whether they do or not, it means I don't have to listen to a dozen suits around me trying to out-do each other a-wheelin' and a-dealin and a-squealin' up and down the aisles. Guess I won't be flying Virgin Atlantic again any time soon...
posted by m.polo (17 comments total)
Maybe it's time to move to Brazil?
posted by harmful at 8:18 AM on July 6, 2000

On the commuter train I take to work each day, phones are ringing all over the place. There's a sign that asks people to keep it down, but most don't pay much attention to it.

What really bothers me isn't the ringing so much as the loud, one sided conversations. Most annoying is when folks check and then reply to their 'important' voicemail messages.

They'll get their due though. Brain tumors for the whole lot of 'em!!
posted by aladfar at 9:19 AM on July 6, 2000

chicago's considering making it illegal to use a handheld while driving. blessed relief for those of us in rush hour...i personally have been hit twice by goons having teleconferences while driving.

of course, the self-involved yuppie contingent is kicking up a big fuss over it.
posted by patricking at 9:38 AM on July 6, 2000

That would be silly to just ban cell phones while driving. Why not then ban all possible distractions while driving? Want a radio in that car? Nope, because you might fumble with changing the station while driving and become distracted. What about banning eating while driving or putting on makeup while driving? Or banning troublesome kids who distract their driving parents? They're at least as dangerous as talking on a cell phone while driving.
posted by gyc at 9:48 AM on July 6, 2000

Cell phone users, like smokers, are forcing us to re-examine what the responsible and fair use of public space by individuals is. How about sound-proof cell phone booths? And smell-proof pavilions for smokers? I don't want people to go away mad, just out of sense-range. ;)
posted by aflakete at 9:51 AM on July 6, 2000

... yeah, the mobility of the wireless digital phone is a wonderful thing, isn't it? you can pick any cell-phone-user-box you *like* to be shut into while having your conversations!
posted by Sapphireblue at 10:40 AM on July 6, 2000

gyc, there's already a law in Illinois that prohibits the use of "electronic devices" while driving an vehicle (I'm not sure, but I think it specifically mentions impaired hearing, like, earphones) - obviously the intent was, "You can't listen to your Walkman while you're driving." Motorola - heard of 'em? largest producer of cellular phones in the world or some such thing? - happens to be based in Illinois, so you can imagine that "electronic device" law was never extended to cover cell phones.

Are there other, more distracting crap that people are doing while they're driving? No doubt. But using a cell phone is already prohibited - at least, in spirit - so this law would just prohibit it explicitly.
posted by m.polo at 11:29 AM on July 6, 2000

Know what I'm really tired of? All the whining about people using cell phones in public. It's fine to talk in public. But try doing the same thing with a cell phone in your hand and everyone is offended. Not irritated but actually outraged!

I think people are bothered that they only get to hear one side of the conversation. Like if the guy sitting next to you were talking to himself. That would bug you the same way. Well get over it. Or leave me out of it. I don't care.

This is your issue? This is what sets you off? People talking in public? Geez.
posted by y6y6y6 at 1:07 PM on July 6, 2000

Umm... weren't there already phones in airplanes?

I mean, sure, this lets people forward their cells to the airplane, but there were already ways to annoy your neighbors with one-sided conversations before Virgin introduced this automated forwarding stuff.

A new system being developed by Matsushita Avionics Corp will also give 200 hours of digital video on demand, Virgin said.

Huh? I mean... huh? What? This last sentance of the AP news thingy just sticks out at me and makes me go 'huh?' a lot. What's the relevance, where's further info? When is AP going to start hyperlinking their newsfeeds?
posted by cCranium at 1:13 PM on July 6, 2000

Talking in public is just fine.

There is, however, a difference between talking on a cell phone, and engaging in an ordinary conversation.

Cell phone users raise their voices - considerably. You may not be aware of it, but you do. That's what makes it irritating.

Besides, no one cares if you want to talk on the phone while you're walking down the street. It's only an issue in restaurants, on the train, etc.

There shouldn't have to be laws passed about this issue - it's a matter of simple courtesy and common human decency. Qualities lacking in a great many people. Especially cell phone users . . .

Wow, I sound like I'm full of pentacostal furvor!
posted by aladfar at 1:18 PM on July 6, 2000

Actually, the major item isn't the effect cellphones have on the navigational equipment; there's very little of that gear *at* 800, 900, and 1900 MHz, those being the places cell phones live.

The *problem* is much more pragmatic: if you talk on a cell phone from a plane, you'll hit about 20 cells at the same time, and the system simply doesn't know what to do about it...
posted by baylink at 1:21 PM on July 6, 2000

Most should wait another twenty years before venturing to cell phone use. Holding a high frequency transmitter to your head will have some effect over time.

Maybe visable ear tumors will be a future fashion statement.

I have rarely found the need for a pager or cell-phone and I endeavor to maintain this lifestyle of freedom.
posted by john at 2:17 PM on July 6, 2000

Drive now, talk later.
posted by plinth at 3:47 PM on July 6, 2000

Just the other day I was at an Eatzis in Dallas. Now here's a dangerous place for a cellphone! Why? Cuz of the employees in the white uniforms running around with food and stuff.

Ever been to one of these places? Filled to the brim with nothing but delicious and well prepared gourmet food, the aisles are less than single-lane. There's very little room for mobility there. The dudes in the white outfits always get the right of way. There are signs all over making that very clear.

You as a customer to the place are to get OUT OF THE WAY cuz these guys have work to do. They run around with food and stuff in their hands. They don't have time to be courteous to you and try to get out of your way. You're just there to buy their stuff. It's their job to make it so you can buy it. So they ARE more important and that's the way it should be.

You should see what happens when one of these guys in the white outfits runs across an oblivious asshole with a cellphone who is just not paying attention to where he's going. Man if looks could kill! =)
posted by ZachsMind at 7:11 PM on July 6, 2000

"The Last Refuge" indeed. When a guy started a *passionate* cell phone call in the stall next to mine, I realized that even the sanctity of the Men's Room had been compromised. I still can't figure out why he wanted to call from there, but I guess the person on the other end must have been used to flushing (and other) noises by then.

As far as driving goes, I think you can often see the quality of people's driving go down when they pick up their phone. I think it's much more distracting than a radio. Probably because it's less passive.
posted by kcchip at 8:58 PM on July 6, 2000

I find people always do the same things in mobile phone converstions. The phone rings, the person rushes outside of any building they're in. They talk loudly and it is compulsory to announce where they are (Hello!....I'm on the Bus!). They must do this while striding up and down as it's impossible to stand still while talking on the phone. They'll often end the conversation "OK!....I'll see you in five minutes!" which begs the question why waste time and money phoning at all.

Anyway, check out and this video clip from Trigger Happy TV for more phone abuse.
posted by dodgygeezer at 1:24 AM on July 7, 2000

Phones can be used responsibly. I'd guess that 98% of the calls I make are to the wife and the kids. I do this while driving, so I plan to get a phone with one of those earphone attachment things, as getting home safely is concern #1. Mine never rings in public because it's almost never on, I almost never make calls in public either. If I make a call while walking down the street I feel like a jackass. I have used the phone in an emergency, I'm sure the old woman who fell and smacked her head on the concrete would have been glad I had a phone... well, if she even knew her own name that is...
Oh, I average less than 30 minutes per month while people I know say "Hey, I just got a 10,000 minute plan!" groan...

posted by raster at 5:54 AM on July 7, 2000

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