Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Tyranny of Cell Phones

There is something sinister about cell phones.

Lately, something that annoys me is the "Are You Running Late?" cell phone check-up. Generally, I'm one of those types of people that make an effort to be punctual & on time when I've made plans to meet someone somewhere. But I'm not perfect. And, now that we all have cell phones, if I'm running a fraction late (like 1 or 2 minutes) -- or even if I'm not running late & they have their clock set fast -- other timely people sense the need to make an obligatory call to inquire about how soon someone will be where we are. "Sooooo, where are you? How far away are you? When do you think you'll get here?"

It's gotten to a point where, if I happen to be running behind, I cringe at the harrowing thought of having to deal with one of those uncomfortable "I'm waiting on you & I have little patience of my own" phone calls. And to avoid this cell phone terrorism, I've even begun to employ the preemptive punctuality call.

You know what? I've decided that this is annoying. I myself am resolved no longer to be that demanding or insecure over a cell phone in that way. I encourage you to do the same.


Sara Blouin Taylor said...

I just don't answer mine. I figure we all got along fine before cell phones, and I can always return calls if they were important enough to leave a message. I don't really understand the mindset of, "well if you HAVE a cell phone, you should carry it with you at all times and answer every single call." Is there some unwritten contract that I don't know about? If there is, I may dispose of my cell phone and go back to the non-obligatory land-line. Maybe I won't even GET an answering machine.

III said...

But see, that's part of the tyranny of the "Where are you?" phone call. If you don't answer, the phone just keeps on ringing. And then they keep trying to call back. It frays the nerves.

I'm with you about being obligated about answering ALL calls. I get annoyed when folks can't put their phone on vibrate for a meeting & screen their calls, or when folks are just completely unable or ill-equipped to not answer a call and call back later when they should be giving their attention to me right now.

It's a pity that Jesus doesn't directly address cell phone etiquette in Scripture.

Katy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Katy said...

As the late party is actually the one at fault, I think the preemptive call is definitely the polite way to handle the situation. This eliminates the need for the "where are you" call and demonstrates that the tardy individual values the other party's time and doesn't expect them to keep waiting indefinitely. Plus, you can ever go wrong in being considerate of others =).

Katy said...

*make that NEVER, not ever =).

III said...

I suppose I should clarify... and defend myself. :) I do, in fact, call ahead if I am running more than 5 or 10 minutes late if it is a hard meeting time. I am generally a punctual person. And I would understand someone calling me if I was that late & hadn't let anyone know.

What I'm addressing, I guess, is those who preemptiely (and in my mind prematurely) make that "You're late" call. And, I suppose, part of the annoyance is that are so many folks in the world who aren't punctual that we don't give the ones who are any actual credit.

Does that make sense?

Mark said...

I know the pain you speak of. I hate those calls.

Justmatt said...

Not on this topic - but since you have no way of know that I responded to your comment on my blog - I thought I would let you know here! I like your thoughts - and I get it. I am all about living like Christ - taking care of the least of these - loving others - etc. But sometimes I just don't "Get" how to do that in my everyday life. In my Job, etc.

Please share your thoughts over at my place.

You are the man.

Oh, and I don't like being able to be reached at anytime on a cell phone. I actually just got my first one THIS past Feb. I tried to hold out as long as I could but work forced the issue on me. But I just don't answer if I am getting the bugging, nagging, are you coming call : )

Chad Billy-Steve Pknicholson said...

My comment is about a day late and I'm a little offended you didn't call me to find out when it would arrive considering who late it is. For the record, it was ready on time, but got caught in Gustav traffic.

Anonymous said...

I'm the most tardy person I know... and I may or may not answer the inevitable "why are you late call," depending on who it is. People who know me expect me to be there at least 15 minutes after whatever time I was supposed to arrive. The smart ones tell me a time that is at least 15 minutes early. :)

But I digress. One thing I do enjoy about the cell phone is the almighty TEXT MESSAGE. And I send out preemptive "i'm late" texts all the time. Good stuff.