Many cell phone users should take a lesson from etiquette expert What others say

Posted: Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Now that it is ''Cell Phone Courtesy Month'' no, we don't know whose idea that is, but it works for us we'd like to vent.

Self-described etiquette expert Lydia Ramsey says four steps can help allay cell phone rudeness.

Pay attention to when and where cell phones are used.

Use a low voice if using a cell phone in public.

Turn the phone off, or at least silence it, when meeting with someone (to which we add, or when in a public place where a ring would distract others).

Use a ''normal'' ring tone, not one that makes others cringe or roll their eyes.

Cell phones are a great invention: They are convenient for the owner and add a degree of security to those who must travel alone. They can be especially good for emergencies.

But they shouldn't become a drain on everyone around the person with the cell phone. At a meeting where someone is giving a speech, or at a performance, the rudeness is obvious when a cell phone rings. On a walk around Ward Lake, everyone who is trying to enjoy the peace and beauty of nature doesn't need to hear phones ringing. And simply sitting in the waiting room of an airport, a person trying to read a book (or hear an announcement about a flight) shouldn't be subjected to hearing the person in the next seat having a heated argument (or, for that matter, a lovey-dovey farewell call).

We won't even go into all the arguments about people talking on cell phones while driving (tuning the radio, turning to yell at the kids or egad putting on makeup fall into the same category. Drivers can't allow distractions, cellular or otherwise).

So during July, let's try to practice cell phone politeness in both directions.

If we don't have cell phones, let's not gloat or roll our eyes whenever we see one (that's right nonusers have their own brand of rudeness, though they seem to let their disdain fall by the wayside when they need to borrow a phone and there's a line at the pay phones). And if we do, let's remember to keep private conversations private and to put a cork in the ringer when we're in a public place.

And let's never, ever have a Rupert Holmes' tune as our custom ring tone. Some things, society cannot tolerate.

Ketchikan Daily News - July 2



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