Monday, July 16, 2012

Can you walk and chew gum?

HALLIE EPHRON: One of my favorite NY Times stories this year was about a woman who ran into a truck. Parked in a driveway. She was talking on her cell phone at the time.

I thought of that story last week as I got off a train at Penn Station and was nearly run off the platform by a woman racing diagonally across the platform and talking into her cell phone. New York City crowds are already tricky to navigate, but these people are making it truly dangerous.

Do you keep your phone turned on and whip it out whenever it rings? Are you happy to talk to whoever calls whenever and wherever? Do you talk or text while walking? While driving?? And if you're talking and you, you know, have to go, do you take it with you?

And most importantly, have you developed any clever evasive maneuvers to avoid being injured by the oblivious?

DEBORAH CROMBIE: Oh, Lord.  I live in a state where texting and driving seems to be the norm. It is INSANE. Can I say that any louder without violating ethernet protocol????

I've been bumped into on the street and in railway stations in London by people texting while walking, but they seem to be able to do two things at once better than Americans. Here in North Texas, if you see someone going twenty in a fifty, or weaving all over the road, or sitting at the stoplight long after it's turned green, we used to say, "They're drunk." Now we say, "They're texting."

I do keep my phone turned on, but don't answer when I'm with other people unless I think it's an emergency. And I don't text until I'm parked.

RHYS BOWEN: They've made it a law not to text and drive in California, and to talk on the phone using a hand-held device but I don't think that stops people. I was driving up Highway 5 when the car in front of me in the fast lane started weaving all over the place. I passed him on the slow lane as quickly as I could and saw it was a young man, completely absorbed in texting. Things happen so quickly when you're doing 70 miles an hour that this is insane. And I haven't developed any maneuver except being extra vigilant and giving anyone behaving dubiously a wide, wide berth.

I'm still amazed by the way cell phones have taken over our lives. I went to a school concert at my grandson's school. There were a couple of teenage girls at the next table and they were texting all through the concert. I'm sure they had no idea what was going on. So rude.

JAN BROGAN: The simple answer is No. I cannot talk and chew gum. 
People who know me well always make sure to ask if I'm driving when I answer the cell phone. If I say yes, they immediately yell at me to hang up and call them back later.  I'm probably dangerous even when I'm just driving and listening too intently to a book-on-tape or NPR.

LUCY BURDETTE: Remind us to drive when we go on the Jungle Red tour Jan:).

I'm kind of a curmudgeon when it comes to the phone. We finally got caller ID and absolutely love it! As for driving and texting, I can't think of much to add--it's so risky! We had some friends over last night and one of the guys was laughing about texting, changing clothes, and eating a sandwich all while racing to the golf course. It's funny to hear him talk about it, but can only hope he's exaggerating for the effect!

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Oh, do NOT get me started. Well, too late. I love my phone as much as anyone else, but I am capable of turning it off.

Yes, Hallie, I do leave it on, but I never talk while driving. As for texting--I am in downtown Boston all the time ,and EVERYONE is ALWAYS on their phones.Talking or texting or looking like wackos because they are talking with earbuds and it looks like they are talking to no one. I think- the world is passing you by, folks! 

And I cannot begin to say how many times I've seen phoners walk in front of cars. it is--terrifying and ridiculous. I saw a cartoon the other day depicting a crowd of people. all texting, and the caption was something like: "You are already zombies."

HALLIE: So, don't mince words! Tell us how you feel about pedestrians and drivers texting while in motion? About guests at your dinner table texting while you flambe the cherries jubilee. Are you looking forward to when car makers can embed more "infotainment" in your car's dashboard, or do you see it as the end of civilization as we know it, and certainly hazardous to our health?


  1. Total agreement about the zombies out there.

    I have two good friends who are real estate agents. They take calls anywhere anytime. If they are representing me, I like that. If we're at our Flick Chicks gathering and Deb (who is over 60) doesn't even leave the table to talk with whoever called her, it's completely rude. At least get up and go talk in another room or the hallway.

    At work I'm about to print out a notice and put it on the Ladies restroom door: THIS IS NOT A PHONE BOOTH. I mean, we have a printer room, an elevator hallway, empty cubicles - do you have to talk in the Bathroom?!! Drives me nuts. I do NOT refrain from flushing, believe me. Sometimes two women at once are in there talking (one in Hindi).

    Hallie, thanks for getting my blood pressure up so early in the morning!

  2. Okay, I realize I am probably the only person on the planet [or at least one of the miniscule minority] who can survive very well, thank you very much, without my cell phone. Yes, I have one, yes I talk on it, yes, I text with it . . . but never while driving or walking . . . and the “glued to your ear or always in your hand texting” phenomenon makes me absolutely crazy. Of course, I understand and appreciate the convenience cell phones provide, but whenever I see phones monopolizing the attention of drivers and pedestrians who need to be paying attention to where they are going, I want to scream at them to “get off the phone!”

    Like everyone else, I see it everywhere . . . and I simply don’t get why this sort of being “connected” has become important enough to overtake peoples’ lives. What, I ask myself, can be so important that people actually need to spend every waking moment attached to their cell phones? A whole new category of “rude” has been created by this cell phone phenomenon with people incessantly talking or texting in all manner of inappropriate places and times.

    Sometimes I think I miss the days of phones on the kitchen wall that did nothing fancy, just let you talk to another person, and the answering machines that took a message if you were out. [I don’t understand those folks who read books on their phones, either, but I suppose that’s a topic for a different day.]

  3. We have big, red "No Cellphones" signs by our little train station because a local teenager had the phone plugged in his ear when he jumped off one train and walked in front of a second. The misuse of cellphones leads to so much tragedy, especially while driving, I bet the numbers are beginning to rival hand guns. I hope the laws will get tougher.

  4. My cell phone is never on unless I'm using it to make a call. I call home from conferences on it and I used it once to call for help when I had a flat on the way home to Maine from the 2008 Crime Bake. I don't know how to text and I"m not sure the phone does either since it's at least six years old. I am addicted to my iPad, but it's too big to use while walking or driving. That last is not meant seriously. Distracted drivers cause a lot of deadly accidents here in rural Maine too. Unfortunately, they don't seem to care what the laws are.

  5. Oh, Edith -- signs in the bathroom? Has it come to that?

    And why do people talking on their cell phones talk so LOUD? Rows away on a train I can hear every single word. And somehow they are wrapped in a cocoon of imaginary privacy so they say ANYTHING.

  6. Joan - I shed a friend over this. Over dinner, she's texting, or playing Angry Birds (is that a cell phone game?) and I'm like 'Hello? Is anybody there?'

    Read BOOKS on their phones?? Really?

  7. Oh, Jack, that is so sad. It is amazing how oblivious a person can be. I find I can't even have listen to music through earbuds when I'm cooking. I drop things, cut myself (even more than usual).

  8. I hate my cell phone and all it does is call and text. No Internet, photos, driving directions, and I still want to smash it when it rings.

    I do a lot of work in libraries, and despite signs all over about no cell calls inside, it was ignored. NOT by teenagers, but by businessmen, mothers and older people, who have no regard for anyone. This really bugs me. I once got up and slammed the door to the Delaware Research Room after some guy inside went on and on about a business deal, despite dirty looks and someone tiptoeing in asking him to keep his voice down. A table of college students were right outside. After a moment of stunned silence--when I say slammed the door, I mean I SLAMMED the door--they applauded. A proud moment in my life.

    There have been complaints, so now phones and texting are banned in all county libraries. Librarians are taking an aggressive approach and telling people to get off the phone NOW. They look like they love doing it, too!

    Peace at last.

  9. I'm with you, Kathy - I only use my cell when traveling.

    JOAN: I have one of those phones. Still! In my kitchen. Hard wired into the wall with a rotary dial. And in a power outage, it's the phone that still works.

  10. I have the oldest working cell phone. I don't text. I don't have games. I don't have internet access. I make phone calls with it. That's it. I don't even carry the thing with me unless I'm in the grocery store (I invariably have to call home about something) or expecting an important call. It's plugged in to a charger in my car. I do occasionally use it while I'm driving, but only on speaker. If I have to write something down, I pull into a parking lot.

    It drives me nuts to see people with the phone plastered to their ear while driving. I've seen cars whip through crosswalks with pedestrians in them, and each time the driver had a cell phone in hand. My brother thinks nothing of talking or texting when he comes over for dinner. I saw a photo on Pinterest that showed a basket full of phones with a sign that read "BE with the friends who are HERE." I'd love to ban cell phone use from restaurant dining rooms (and bathrooms!), checkout lanes, banks (some local banks do have signs by the tellers and at the drive through window), and schools. I so desperately want to walk up to people and tell them, "You are not as important as you think you are. Hang up the !@#*# phone."

    And kids! My gosh, I've seen teens texting at the theater - talking to EACH OTHER! At least I assume they were talking to each other - they both laughed and looked at each other. My boss told of his daughter texting her cousin while they were seated across from one another at a table in a restaurant. It will be a miracle if two generations from now we have any social skills at all.

  11. Ramona, love that story. Your victorious moment, like Norma Rae standing up on the table and holding that sign. How satisfying!

    I love the Amtrak conductors that enforce the no cell phone talking rule in the quiet car. I LOVE the quiet car.

  12. Ack,I got so caught up in reliving the annoyance, I forgot to ask the question I wanted to ask!

    This may be a different blog post, but do you all see cell phones as having changed mystery novels? Used to be, a character in danger frantically looked for a way to call for help. Now, it seems it's the writer frantically trying to find ways to ditch the character's cell phone, so they can't call for help.

  13. Ramona,
    I think it definitely changes the way you write a mystery. When I wrote my first mystery there weren't cell phones or even tax machines! After I finally sold it (five years later) I had to go back and make it historical (predate it five years) because it just didn't make sense that Addy, a reporter, wouldn't be ripping off emergency phone calls in the cab on her cell phone.

    In later novels, Hallie, was notoriously disorganized which explained why the cell phone was never charged when she needed it.

    a cell phones can just wreck the suspense.

  14. Exactly, Ramona. I have a protagonist who goes running regularly encounter a crisis and then swearing because she wore the running shorts with no pocket, hence no phone. ;^)

    That said, I'm about to get a smart phone for the first time...

  15. Ah, yes, we do now need to contrive ways for the phone not to work. No reception. Forgot to charge it.

    But the BEST thing about cell phones for a mystery writer is how they track a person's whereabouts. That generates lots of plot possibiities.

  16. I just got an iphone on Saturday, and I hate it. The keyboard is awful. I do text, but not happily. I want a phone that has a real keyboard, has good sound quality for talking, and full internet access and therefore a good resolution screen. I don't need apps, games, music, etc. I can get them all through the internet if and when I need them.
    My son is addicted to his phone, and I worry about his safety. And his intelligence, because I am sure he is texting and driving despite umpteen graphic warnings about the dangers and consequences.

  17. Yo, Anonymous! You need a Blackberry! Though I have to say I find myself less fumble-fingered with the iPhone "keypad" than with those little keys on a Blackberry.

    Remembering when my mother-in-law couldn't figure out how to turn on our shower... it had one of those circle pointer faucets. Now I get it!

  18. I'm with hallie and Kathy. I have a pay-as-you-go phone that I only carry when I'm traveling. I don't want to be instantly reachable 24 hrs/day.

    On the texting/phoning while driving side of the discussion, I saw two eight year old girls riding their bikes on the sidewalk a few days ago. One of them was talking on a cell phone and ran into a lightpost as I watched. Someday she'll be driving a Mustang instead of a Schwinn . . .

  19. Laura - I once sat in the window of a Chock Full of Nuts (Looooong time ago) on Broadway in NYC. A man walked by reading a newspaper and walked right into a lamp post. He stopped, stunned, then punched the (metal) post. Sidewalk Rage.

  20. What a great topic, Hallie. Cell phones have sure changed our lives, haven't they? Sometimes in unintended ways.

    We have a farm about an hour south of Cincinnati, with a two-lane road with a 55 mph speed limit on a good portion of it, very twisty and hilly. Twice I have nearly been killed by some idiot trying to drive and text at the same time, crossing the center line.

    The good thing about a cell phone, from the perspective of having a rural property, is that one can call for help if need be. My husband and I are often there alone, with the other person at home in Cincy, and sometimes doing dangerous farm-type things. We do get service on most of the property, although friends who live nearby have a lot of dead spots on theirs.

    I also take great glee in flushing when someone else is using a phone and the loo simultaneously. That is the grossest of bad manners.

    The worst loud-talker situation was on my very first funicular ride in Tahoe. My family was skiing and I decided to ride up the mountain to meet them for lunch. Some jerk took a cell phone call and proceeded to talk loudly enough that it completely ruined the experience for everyone else. Most everyone in the US seems to raise their voices on cell phones; it's an odd phenomenon. You don't see that so much in Europe. In fact, it's often impossible to tell if someone is actually speaking on cell phones over there, or just listening to a message.

  21. Why DO Americans talk so loud on their cell phones? Theories??

  22. Oh, Hallie, you hit one of my hot buttons here. I have a pay-as-you-go cell phone. I try to keep the number of people who have its number down, and I always tell them that they will probably have to leave a message since I don't answer it while driving, working, or meeting/talking with someone.

    I sometimes have to go to coffee shops or libraries to work--if the ongoing-for-almost-three-years city project outside my house has shut off my water,cut the gas line, or is jackhammering or when the temps get over 100 and my window ACs can't keep me cool. Always someone starts talking loudly on a cell phone. If it's a man, it usually gets worse. He starts walking up and down throughout the place, bellowing personal or business info over his cell phone and often dialing someone else the second he hangs up to repeat it as he paces. I can work through almost anything, but this can bring me near violence at times.

    One guy did two business deals this way, dealt with one girlfriend who was jealous of his wife, and started with a second girlfriend. All of us knew way too much about him including his full name and place of business since he'd announced them loudly over the phone. He received glares and shushes from everyone and ignored them.

    One tiny old lady tried to ask him politely to stop or take it outside, and he made fun of her loudly over the phone to his girlfriend as he kept going. That was the final straw for me. I stood up, blocking his path, and said very loudly (I'm a big woman who used to sing professionally, trained to project when I need to), "I've recorded every word you've said, Chuck, and will be turning it over to your wife, xxx, and employer, xxx." He started cursing at me and then fled the coffee shop. For the next few minutes, people kept coming by to say thanks, including the two young female barristas, who'd been totally intimidated by him.

    What on earth possesses these people to talk about sensitive business stuff or, worse, confidential personal stuff on cell phones in public at the top of their voices?

  23. I've pretty much given up trying to work at Starbuck's or Panera because of people making long, LOUD, business calls that last for hours. Not that I'm not using the cafes as portable offices, too, but I'm not TALKING. There's even one guy, Nigerian, I think, who camps out at my local Panera and seems to be running some sort of religious phone scam. Now there's a plot for you.

    As for mysteries and phones, the cell (mobile) phones drive me as crazy as CCTV cameras. But my detectives do get useful info and photos on their phones now, instead of having to get faxes or print-outs...

  24. In 9th grade this past school year my daughter was the only person in her home room of 32 kids without an i-phone or a Blackberry. They're considering doing a course to teach the kids how to interact face to face because they spend so much time texting they do badly when they head out to interview for part-time jobs. Makes me feel like a dinosaur.

  25. Love Ramona and Linda's responses to the cell phones in public spaces! But sometimes the phones come out in more personal setting, e.g., a gathering at home or elsewhere. Anyone have a polite way to ask one's friends to put the phones away? I admit, it can be fun when someone Googles something during a conversation to answer a question that arose, but mostly I feel like they're distracted, always glancing at the thing, waiting for something better to come along.

    And the effect on writing: My protag is 32 so I have to think young when it comes to tech. Thank goodness for my young editor!

  26. I love it: Talking in Person 101. Before you know it, they'll be resurrecting charm school. Am I the only one whose mother taught me to serve tea?

    DEBS: So THAT'S where that Nigerian who keeps calling me hangs out!

    LINDA: Applause from here, too!

  27. Hallie, I think the reason people talk so loud on their cell phones is because they are partially deaf. Cause? How loud they play anything that goes directly into their ears. Ear buds playing CDs at a volumne I can hear on the opposite side of the car, sidewalk, plane... Concerts are so loud one can not understand any of the words, (as though the words were worth listening to, but that's another issue). Years ago I told my visiting niece that if I hear one "F, Ho, Mutha..." word coming from her ear buds, I would literaly grab her gadget and throw it out the window as I drove 70 mph on Highway 101 in Calif. She was very careful to "skip" various selections on her CD.

    Now, as to cell phone useage, I never upgrade mine. Don't want to lose the pics. But I only use it to talk (with people our age) or text with grandkids and son/d-i-l. It is with me in the car just in case, but I pull over to the side of the road if I'm going to respond to/make a call. As to people using/having a conversation while with others, I will wait about 5 seconds (to determine if it's an emergency or important business - son is attorney so it could be) and then I start making faces. If that doesn't work, I walk away and keep on walking. Since I may have the car it may result in an interesting face-to-face conversation when they have to figure out how to get home.

    Talking/texting while with another is rude, inconsiderate, disrespectful, and insensitive. I just don't need those people in my life any more. I feel no need to treat them any better. Flush - fine. Make a comment loud enough to be heard over the phone ("Honey, come back to bed" when a male is talking with his wife/GF/friends/etc. in the midst of a scheduled appointment - or "Sweetie, where did you stash the drugs?" when it is a teen talking to parents...) Get the drift?

  28. I wish I knew of a way to communicate displeasure with rude guests who can't stop texting to have a face-to-face conversation. I cannot bring myself to do anything but make a joke.

    My sister and her family are the WORST. Mother and I stayed with them while visiting her new grandson, and she would plop down between us on the couch, pick up the controller for the TV, and CHANGE THE CHANNEL to her Facebook games, right in the middle of a program, as if we did not exist, or were her GUESTS, for crying out loud. And she and her daughter text one another constantly, even sitting next to each other. My mom said she can't believe she raised us both. I chose to take that as a compliment.

    We invited two single friends to dinner so they could meet and see if they wanted a relationship. He spent the entire evening messing with his iPad, checking Facebook, looking up topics under discussion, and doing heaven knows what else. I was appalled, and so was my girlfriend. No date for you, doofus.

  29. Aside from the fact that those driving/texting idiots are going to kill me someday... I find the saddest aspect of the whole phenomenon is that there is an entire generation incapable of being alone. Incapable of using their imagination. Incapable of quiet. Incapable of focusing their full attention of anything of importance,even if that 'thing' is simply the person sitting across from them.

  30. Rusty, we had a rule in our house: If I could hear their music through THEIR headset it was too loud, and they needed to turn it down.

    Now they thank me, but it was a battle royal back in the day.

  31. I do have my cell phone on all the time, but I always check the caller ID. I don't answer if I'm driving unless it's my daughter and I've left the kids at home (I have Bluetooth integrated in the car, but often forget to turn it on). I do not read or answer texts if the car is in motion.

    If I'm out, I try to find a place to stand while I have my conversation. I do not text or talk in restaurants or at the pharmacy, or checking out at the grocery.

    And I DO NOT take my phone into the bathroom (already dropped one in the toilet by accident). I simply say, "Can I call you back in a sec?" My father kept talking once and I told him, "Dad, I've gotta pee. I'll call you back." =)

  32. I have a cell phone but turn it on only to make calls. I take it with me in case I have a car problem and have had to call AAA a couple of times -from the stopped-parked car. I have a certain number of free long distance minutes on it. All of my relatives are out of town, so I will use the cell phone to call them, but only from home. I do not give out the number to anyone, except if there is a dire reason for them to call me when I am away from home. That has happened maybe twice in the past four years and I was visiting a hospitalized relative and trying to keep the rest of the family informed as to what was going on.

    I work in a public office where people go to do research. They do not appreciate having to listen to other people having loud cell phone conversations, and neither do those of us who have to be there alll day long. A few years ago we finally had to post a sign asking people to conduct their cell phone conversations in the hallway. One time a man came over near my desk and asked "what can you tell me about such-and-such?" I asked him to repeat the last part of the question because I didn't catch all of it. He glared at me and said "this is a private conversation!"I wanted to ask him WHY he was having it at my desk! Instead, I said "I'm sorry, but I thought you were asking for my help." All he did was turn his back on me, and then he walked out of the office.

    I may have mentioned here in the past that I once overheard a man on a cell phone who was pumping gas one pump over from me. He was asking whoever he called if he could come over that evening, paused, and then said "I have a bottle of wine, and, uh...a package of condoms." Oh, yes, the whole world needed to hear THAT.

    Ramona and Linda and Rusty:I like your approach to improper cell phone usage!

  33. rude, Rude, RUDE!!
    Just got back from the supermarket where the woman ahead of me at checkout is yacking on her phone and not even pretending to be acknowledge to the cashier. Noblesse oblige.

  34. Hallie, I's because when you make a call on a cell, you can't hear yourself on the receiver part as well as you can on a regular phone--or at least, you don't hear yourself in the same way.

    So in order to hear YOURSELF,people talk more loudly.

    Does that make sense?

    YAY RAMONA! UNION! Or--whatever.

    (Bottom line, I still love MY phone.I just don't love everyone else's phone.)

  35. My sister wouldn't talk with me for a long time because she got upset with me when I wouldn't answer my phone while we were sitting in a restaurant. I admit I'll read a text in a restaurant but I won't make or take a call. Maine has a distracted driving law so I tend not to call while I'm driving. And with my bifocals I'd have a wicked hard time trying to drive and read a text simultaneously. Nothing's that important.

    Here in western Maine it's common to be in a cell phone dead zone so I can understand all too well when your characters are unable to use a cell phone in a moment of crisis.

    Thanks for this blog while we all await your next books.

  36. I think that's exactly right Hank - since my husband virtually YELLS on the cell phone on the rare occasion that he uses his, and he's fairly soft spoken and has never indulged in rock concerts or earbuds.

    Speaking of dead cell phone zones, most of Connecticut used to be dead. Is that still the case?

  37. I should probably stay out of this discussion, but well - I just can't.

    I hate cell phones.

    I'm not a big fan of the telephone,period and if it rings at our house neither of us will answer it until one of us has checked the number on the little caller ID screen.

    I have had incidents in the grocery store that are beyond the pale. One day I wanted some yogurt and a woman talking on her phone was leaning against my Lite N'Fit Vanilla yogurt and when I whispered "I'd like some yogurt that you're leaning against," she threw herself around and yelled "Can't you see I'm on the phone?!" This was obviously a woman who did not know me, right?

    I yelled back, "can't you see you're in a grocery store? And I'm here to shop."

    That's probably the only tale I should tell here.

    When did we all become so busy that we can't go to the grocery store without a cell phone?

    Don't get me wrong - I think they are the greatest thing ever to have in a car in case of an emergency.

  38. Laughing laughing laughing, Kaye! You gave her what for.

    Some people really do think the world revolves around them.

  39. This is so true. It amazes me how people can become so absorbed by electronics. We live in a changing world, and we need to learn better ways of adapting. Not just for ourselves but for the future generations as well.

  40. The dangers are so obvious I can only consider texting while driving an IQ test (one that proves Darwin was right). Sad, especially when young people die because of such easily avoided stupidity.

    Cathy AJ

  41. Hallie: I love rotary dial phones! And, yes, my sister downloads and reads books on her phone.

    I can’t imagine talking on the phone in the bathroom, but here’s a true story that, to my mind at least, illustrates the ultimate in “rude.” One Sunday, in church, in the middle of the pastoral prayer, someone’s cell phone rang. Do you think he was embarrassed? Hurried to turn it off? Nope. He answered it and proceeded to have a conversation with whoever was on the other end. Then the person with him got a call, and repeated the exact same process. I guarantee you they weren’t getting personal calls from the Good Lord . . . I was absolutely floored . . . thankfully, most of the congregation was spared having to decide how to handle it when one of the ushers told them they needed to turn their phones off in church.

  42. Love the IQ test idea, Cathy - reminds me of the Darwin Awards...commemorating individuals who protect our gene pool by making the ultimate sacrifice of their own lives.

  43. In CHURCH?! That really is the frosting on the cake... the fruit in the Jell-O mould... it cheeses the Nachos.

  44. One of my pet peeves is the constant need to be in touch. I leave my house at 5am to go to work and people are having conversations on the 5am. Who are they talking to.

    And the people who talk loud enough that everyone can hear their conversation then get pissed when we react to what is being said. If you don't want me to listen, then either talk low or not at all, especially in a public place.

    And the ones that text and walk at the same time, I just watch because I know they are going to hit that light pole or smack their face on the building door.

  45. I'm still recovering from the sound of offices filled with people using manual typewriters.

  46. I read books on my cell phone. What is odd about that? I wrote my dissertation on email. That's odd, I suppose - but not unusual. Any writers here who prefer I not read their books on my cell, speak up now.

  47. It's not just the younger generation. They're constantly texting or talking on the phone, to be sure, but I have to say many of the most egregious of drivers on cell phones or loud talking in public on cell phones or in bathrooms have been middle-aged. Our generation is giving the young ones a run for their money in cell-phone rudeness, I believe.

  48. Hallie,
    I am in CT, and yes, there are still a lot of dead zones, depending on where you are (even what part of your town you live in) and which cell phone service you have. When I first got my cell phone fourteen years ago, I had NO bars on it at home. If I wanted to use it (which would have been only to call an out of town relative) I needed to go out and sit in the car. Sometimes I would have to drive about two miles away and pull off into a parking lot in order to make a call. My cell phone company merged with another one after a few years. From that point on, I was able to make cell phone calls from home. I cannot make cell phone calls from anywhere in the building where I work. The entire building is a dead zone for my particular cell service. There is no problem with other cell phone services being used in our building. This can be a problem for me if I need to call one of my out of town doctors to make an appointment, as we are not allowed to make personal long distance calls from our office phones. There is no objection to people making medical appointments from their cell phones in the office or making/receiving cell phone calls in cases of family emergency. If I need to call the doctor, I must go out in the parking lot at lunch time to do it. Except that the office of one of my doctors shuts down for lunch during the same hour that I have my break, and then I need to run outside during a slow time in our office so I can make my call.

    I don't really understand why some people are giving up their land lines and relying only on cell phones. I think it's dangerous to rely on cell phones only, especially if there is an emergency. They are not always reliable when you need them. When my disabled sister was still able to live in her own home,I gave her a ride somewhere one Sunday. When I drove her home, I opened the car door for her and she began to walk from my car to her building. She lost her balance and fell. She could not get up. I am physically unable to pick someone up from the ground or the floor,so I pulled out my cell phone and called 911. When the dispatcher answered the phone, I explained what happened and gave the location. I did not realize that when you do that from a cell phone, you do not reach your local 911 dispatcher,so I was startled when I was asked which city I was calling from. I live in a town that's on Long Island Sound. I've heard of people in shoreline towns needing to call 911 from a cell phone, and for some reason the call gets picked up across the Sound in NY instead of here in CT. It seems to me that cell phone technology is not yet ready to replace land lines.

    Not long ago when I was at the laundromat,a young girl was sitting next to me and having a very LOUD cell phone conversation. (I was trying to read a book by one of the JRW authors!) After a few minutes of yelling,she told the person she was speaking with "let me hang up and call you on my OTHER cell phone! Maybe we can hear each other better on that one." Then she put the phone back in her purse and pulled out another phone! I was flabbergasted!

  49. Reine:
    I don't suppose it is really odd to read books on your phone since phones do almost everything these days . . . . However, if I want to read a book, I just don't think about pulling out my phone to do it. [Besides, by the time I made the text big enough to actually read, there would only be a half dozen words on the phone screen. It’s definitely easier for me to read on my Nook or to read the actual book.] No criticism of folks who like to read books on their phone was intended . . . .

  50. Joan, I wasn't offended... just looking from another angle and joining in on the general fun of the topic. xo

    Linda, I am with you on the loud public talkers. I don't like loud anything.

    I really don't mind others, excluding those I'm with, from talking on a cell phone in public. I know people who do mind, even when the cell talkers are not loud. That I don't understand at all. What is the difference between cell talkers and non-cell talkers talking at the same volume?

    It's the distraction that is dangerous, not the electronics. I cannot possibly be the only one here who walked down the street while reading a book. My brother-in-law Jim was famous for holding down an open book with a bungee cord while driving over the Grapevine to and from Los angeles. Horrible... but not new, and not electronic. People cause accidents putting on mascara, making peanut butter sandwiches, drinking coffee, singing, yawning, thinking... .

    So really... no one else is willing to admit to being old enough to remember how noisy it used to be in the days of the manual typewriter and steam engines... and yelling news boys on the street corners?

  51. I dont understand the need to text when not stationary, driving or walking and texting is totally insane.

    Read on the news last month where a woman was walking on a pier with her family and texting at same time, walked off the pier, wonder if that taught her a lesson after her and her phone dried out.

    I see people texting while driving so often, makes me crazy.

    My husband is glued to his cellphone, he doesn't need it for work, he does woodworking and is in a shop all day, but cannot stand it if we are home, out, in van/truck,, if his phone rings he HAS to know who it is - HELLO; that's why we have VOICEMAIL, makes me crazy

    - he still answers phone, so I continue to yell at him "get off the phone you are driving, call whoever it is back" repeatedly until either DH or the person he is talking to gets tired of hearing me yell at them. do I feel bad for that NOPE

    In addition to the annoying DH and cellphone, I have a friend who is same way, we can be out and about and the phone is on loud and she's digging in purse, answers and continues to yak away.

    I try to remember to put my phone on low or vibrate if I'm in store. If somemone calls me and I dont pick up and they call right back, I will answer to make sure it's not emergency; if its not then I just say I'll call you back, but most of time I just ignore it.

    Edith I agree - talking in bathroom, flush away !!!

    Just think, we grew up with 1 phone in house, no call waiting, no answering machine, if someones phone rang busy, you called back, you didnt get constant beeps while trying to talk because someone else is calling your phone while you are on it.

    However did we survive without all the conveniences of being available 24/7 LOL

    We actually had to walk to our friends house and sit in front yard if nice out or in basement if raining/cold to talk

    Personal interaction sadly is getting pushed to the wayside

    off my soapbox :)

    hugs to all

  52. D'oh! That should be 38-28-38.

    Cathy AJ