October 10, 2012 Edition

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To whom are
you speaking?

John Bland

Please know that I appreciate the convenience and even the necessity of cell phones. In fact, I remember spending the better part of a day at Disney World worrying about my extended family members who had gotten separated. In an instant, we were split when busloads of people moved through us as we were walking across an open area of the Disney transportation hub that connects to the various Disney parks. If we had had cell phones, we probably wouldn't even remember the incident.


My gripe is the prevalent lack of manners displayed when cell phones are used. A friend shared an instance that is common in many offices and business settings. The incident involves a visitor who comes to his office and asks for a few minutes of his time. Then, in the midst of the visit, the guest receives a cell call, answers it and engages in a detailed conversation while the businessman or woman who he asked to see just sits - and waits.

Common sense should tell us to silence or mute an incoming call until after completing the face-to-face requested office visit.


Another friend has observed how pervasive the use of cell phones are among college students, even at times when they are together in groups at social functions. My question is this: To whom are they speaking? I would assume they are already among their friends or significant others.

My hope is that we are not missing out on living in the present and fully appreciating our surroundings. If we are constantly talking on cellular phones or looking at Smartphone screens to text, tweet or email, it becomes obvious that we are not communicating so much with those within our physical reach.

It seems in these situations, whether at a meeting, social function or business setting, we owe it to those around us to give them the focus of our attention.


It is interesting to count the number of drivers who are talking on their cell phones. I admit that I would often be one of those counted. It is just too easy to make or take that call when you sit behind the wheel. Although I also admit that I'm not good at doing two things at once.

With the use of cell phones, as with most anything, it just comes down to using a little common sense and courtesy, something we could all try to apply as we rush about our daily lives.

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