This is an editorial that shouldn’t have to be written. It’s on a topic that we all should have learned from our parents, back when we were learning other common courtesies like, “don’t belch at the table” and “don’t leave your underwear on the couch.”
It’s about having respect for other people, and about common courtesy in the electronic age.
Perhaps it just hasn’t occurred to people, caught up in their own personal electronic bubbles. But the entire world does not hinge on every byte of text you might be in the process of receiving.
We hate to have to point this out, but your time isn’t more valuable than everyone else’s.
If, for example, you are in the lineup for breakfast at a mall restaurant, when it’s your turn to place your order, you should probably place it, rather than keep talking on your cellphone, treating each request for information from the counter staff like it was an imposition. If you can’t order right now, well, feel free to step out of the line until you can order. Everyone else should not have to wait until you finish your over-loud discussion about the price of bathroom fixtures.
If you are taking a call, it’s probably better to step out of the way and stand still, instead of meandering aimlessly, eyes glazed with that peculiar electronic stare, stepping into people’s way while your ship travels with no one keeping watch on the bridge.
If you are crossing at the crosswalk, multi-tasking while drivers wait for you to make your way safely to the other side, it is impolite to stop dead in the middle of the crosswalk while you make a particularly emphatic point on your cellphone to whoever it is you are talking to.
If you are in the grocery store, pushing your cart through the narrow gap between hamburger and the picnic pork shoulder, it is not only an inconvenience but an imposition when you decide to stop all traffic as you electronically discuss the things that should or should not have made their way onto the grocery list.
Equally, forcing a cash register timeout because you’re taking some critical call that “Nancy’s dog is so sick” — heaven knows no one behind you in line has anywhere they have to be or anything they have to do — is as rude as deliberately blocking a doorway.
And for God’s sake, please limit discussion of prolapsed organs/tumours/surgeries/sex practices and/or private piercings to the comfort and privacy of your own home. It’s delightful that you want to share your experience of third-degree heat-rash thigh chafing, but perhaps you could wait for someone to express interest first?
Let’s not get started on those who combine their cellphones with driving — that’s the point where ignorance becomes criminal.
To put it simply, cellphones are everywhere. The fact that you have one does not make you an on-call heart surgeon or a pilot in the tower, talking down a jetliner where an amateur is in the cockpit and both pilots have keeled over dead.
Take the call if you must — but don’t think it gives you the right to determine your time means more than anyone else’s.
Get over yourself. None of us is that important.