Something to Talk About
Well so much for my pledge to post something once a month. Perhaps since I am only ONE day late I can get a small reprieve. Hopefully you’ll forgive me and read along anyway. Either way, I thank you for stopping by!
And so now, let’s get on with the show~
Surprise Surprise Surprise! I’m back—and I am not talking about high school mascots. If you tuned in last time you’ll know I took a mini-break from writing about manners to stand up for something I believe in; The Vestavia Rebels. For those who are keeping up with that exciting, interesting and somewhat confusing situation; so far The Rebels have kept their name and are now deciding on the appropriate outfit for the mascot. To be quite honest, I still haven’t figured out what was wrong with the old outfit. If someone had asked me to give my description of it I would have said Southern Gentleman, certainly not slave owner. Otherwise, I surely wouldn’t have allowed my children to parade around wearing clothing emblazoned with its likeness. Not that I have ever given much thought to slave owners in general (other than to find them horrific, inexcusable, totally detestable and completely deranged–I swear, no matter how long I live, I will NEVER understand how ANYONE could think slavery was an okay thing……but I won’t go into that right now) but if I had to imagine what sort of clothing one of them might wear, my mind would conjure up someone dressed like Charles Ingalls. Not an old, Yosemite Sam lookalike in Rhett Butler’s suit— but that’s just me. I am grateful for the wisdom of those who understand what The Vestavia Rebels truly represent and I am anxious to see where this adventure takes us next. I now join my other faithful Rebel fans as we wait to see our newly updated mascot.
I strongly suggest we don’t hold our breath while we wait for a decision.
Now on to the matter at hand…….
As this segment focuses on cell phone etiquette, if you happen to be reading this on your cell phone right this very minute, please first confirm that you are not currently driving a vehicle or operating any type of heavy machinery. Secondly, check your surroundings to make certain that your spouse, children, parents or any other human being you could be having a personal interaction with is not within your sight. Then and only then should you continue. If you happen to be reading this on a computer screen I will give you the benefit of the doubt that you are in appropriate surroundings and need no further warnings.
There really isn’t enough time, (or enough strength in my hands to type the words necessary) to adequately describe my feelings on cell phones. The level of security and convenience they have added to our lives pales in comparison to the loss of civility they have brought to our relationships not only with others but with ourselves. I freely admit that I am looking in the mirror when I say that because if I am honest, I must confess that I recently found myself sitting on the beach looking at paint colors via an app on my phone. Seriously? I’m right there in front of one of God’s greatest creations and I’m looking at my phone? It was time to stop the insanity.
I decided to take a lesson from my son (who recently chose to delete all apps except Twitter, Instagram and The Bible) and announced that I was purging my phone. Talk about pressure! That meant I had to let go of Amazon and Ebay and Pinterest, oh my! I refused to delete Dubsmash (because I am ridiculously addicted) or Heads Up (because it is way too much fun) but I let most of the the others fall away. It was actually freeing but I can’t lie and say I don’t sometimes miss my friendly apps. They were my best friends when I sat in carpool on a rainy day or when I couldn’t sleep at 3 am—which is most nights—or when I was passing time in a waiting room somewhere…. with my phone on silent of course.
It’s not the apps that are causing so much public trouble though. It’s the talking. The nauseating, self important, loud, announcement level talking by people who are seemingly ignorant of their surroundings and proceed to prance around in all areas of society chatting openly about everything from taxes to tampons. It is ridiculous and incredibly rude.
I think it was the “lady” next to me at the day spa (who carried on a 20 minute phone conversation detailing the shopping trip she took with her daughter to choose the perfect pageant dress) that lit this fire underneath me. However I know it was the guy in the airport who poured gasoline all over that fire and inspired me to get going on this post.
A while back, someone sent me a video of a completely ridiculous man prancing around talking on his cell phone…..in the middle of the airport. This man was well dressed and looked to be quite capable so it was somewhat of a surprise to see him pacing back and forth while he appeared to be talking to himself. He looked like one of those sad homeless people who walk around just mumbling to the world. On closer inspection it was obvious that he was using a bluetooth earpiece (I like to call those “ear bugs” because they bug the T-Total stew out of me.) to carry on a conversation. Ridiculous. It was very clear to me that this man had absolutely no home training whatsoever.
Some of you may be wondering why I let the videographer get a pass on making the video (on a cell phone no less) to begin with. First, this loud talking man was in PUBLIC. If you don’t know by now that any time you leave your home you are being filmed in some way by someone, somewhere; then let me be the first to welcome you to 2015. Secondly, the person filming this did so very discreetly, not secretly. There’s a difference. Had this man been in any type of private area (bathroom, club lounge, office space) then it would have been another story. Finally, if you don’t want someone to document your bad public behavior, don’t act badly in public. After all is said and done, if this can be used as a teachable moment then I am all for it.
Please bear in mind that I am not trying to shame anyone or make anyone feel guilty about having or using a cell phone. I firmly believe good manners should never be misused to make others feel inferior; but should always be used to make everyone around you feel comfortable. All I would ask is this; if you are going to keep a cell phone (and we are all going to keep one) please follow a few simple guidelines to help maintain decorum.
I’m listing only 7 suggestions here and while it could easily get up to 77, I think this list can help us all remain civil when it comes to cell phones. Please note: I’m not even going to address texting and driving. If you are in a car, you can text (or tweet or read email, etc.) in the car when the car is STOPPED. The end. If you don’t know that, nothing I can say will help you.
Without further adieu I present:
~Cell Phone Guidelines for Civilized Living in 2015~
1. If you are not home alone or in some sort of emergency situation that requires you to explain your every move to someone trying to locate you and save your life, do not walk around willy-nilly, loudly taking on your cell phone.
~This includes walking on a treadmill at the gym.
2. Unless you are a doctor on call or are expecting an emergency to take place or you are waiting for a call from a child who is out of your care, DO NOT take your phone into church.
~If you must take a phone into church, place the ringer on silent. Not “vibrate”, SILENT!
3. When you enter schools, doctors’ offices, movie theaters, restaurants, grocery stores or other public establishments-TURN THE RINGER OFF ON YOUR PHONE.
~You may leave your phone on vibrate but if you absolutely must answer a call and talk any longer than to say “I can’t really talk right now, is everything okay?” GO OUTSIDE.
4. If for some reason you must take a call while in a public place, step to the side or out of the way somewhere and speak softly. If you are with others or if a sales person is helping you, apologize before you answer and again when you return to your party.
~If you find that such a call will take longer than one or two minutes to complete, make arrangements to return the call after you have completed your other business.
5. Please do NOT keep pushing your cart through The Piggly Wiggly while you run through a grocery list with someone, schedule dance carpool with your neighbor or plan your Mother’s surprise party. Whatever you do–I beg you–do not discuss the latest finding of your visit to the OB-GYN/Gastroenterologist/etc. And for Heaven’s sake, DO NOT talk on your phone while you are checking out and paying at a store!
~If you are actually so busy (I say busy because nobody is that important) you can’t put your phone away long enough to have a polite interaction with the person working at the cash register, you need to hire a personal shopper. Preferably one with better manners than you.
5. Do not leave your phone on the table while you dine in a restaurant and for Heaven’s sake; do NOT sit in a restaurant at a table or a counter or a bar and have a phone conversation.
~If you must have your phone out in a restaurant, place it on vibrate and keep it in your seat, just underneath the edge of your leg. I do this often if I think one of my children might need me and it works like a charm. Once again, if you absolutely must answer a call and talk any longer than to say “I can’t really talk right now, is everything okay?” GO OUTSIDE.
6. Do not talk on your phone while you pay at a drive through window.
~Again, if you are so busy that you can’t politely interact with someone serving you, get an assistant. They can drive through Starbucks or Chic-Fil-A for you while you are at etiquette class.
7. Do NOT walk around in Target wearing your tennis skirt or Lulu Lemon outfit talking your fool head off to- well, to anyone is still willing to listen to someone who is obviously as self-absorbed as one who acts like that must be. This is a double NO-NO if you are talking through a blue tooth bug clipped your ear.
~This behavior is even more annoying if it is obvious you haven’t actually played a lick of tennis or done the least bit of exercise; and your tennis skirt or Lulu Lemon outfit are just for show. And trust me–it’s obvious.
I’m sure you’ve seen yourself in some of those situations because Lord knows I have! We have all done most all of those things at some time or another and not because we are terrible people; because we are human. Of course I know that not everyone talking publicly on a cell phone is horribly rude. I was getting out of the car this morning while I was still on a call and caught myself walking down the sidewalk chatting away. I realized what I was doing and ducked into a corner to finish up the call. I then apologized to the couple sitting at the sidewalk cafe beside me because I felt so bad.
I believe many times people just don’t think about what they are doing and/or they think others can’t hear them speaking. I promise, we can ALL hear you. There’s not some magical privacy shield that warps up out of nowhere and surrounds you when you answer calls in public. You are not in a soundproof booth. EVERYONE can hear EVERYTHING you are saying and I am sorry to tell you–none of us really wants to. Take a bit of advice from my Daddy and “Act like you have some walking around sense.” and you should be fine.
I thank you once again for taking the time to read what I have written. I hope it might encourage you to think twice before grabbing your phone to pass the time. Hopefully you will consider these guidelines AND consider teaching them to your children. I weep for the lack of manners amongst today’s youth and for their increasing inability to participate in polite conversation. If any one of these suggestions can help with that I will be as pleased as punch! The Good Lord willing I will be back again next month (MAYBE sooner) with Part III of Where is Your Mother? which will address proper clothing choices at every age. Prepare yourself—I have a whole heck of a lot to say about that!
In my opinion, talk is cheap and good manners are priceless.