Dear annoying cell phone user,
I am writing to you in the hope that this will somehow reach your brain and make you understand just what you inflict upon us. While I am addressing you singularly, I would also like to elaborate that you could be anyone– a smart college student, an intelligent journalist, a successful businessman, my close friend or distant cousin, myself, celebrity, a doctor, a teacher, the intellectual with a social conscience who forgets to switch off the phone or put it on the ‘vibrate’ mode even when clearly asked to do so.
You’d agree that a ringing cell phone in the middle of an intense movie scene, a music concert, or a play performance is irritating and offensive. Yet despite reading articles on mobile etiquette and listening to kind requests made by theatre authorities, you ignore the obvious. I can understand that you may forget when you enter a theatre to switch off a phone but are you really that dumb or ignorant that you cannot act immediately when the request is being announced or are you just plain disrespectful? At times you also treat a cinema hall like your own living room where you not only let the phone ring incessantly but also answer it after some 30 rings and announce to the entire theatre that you are in a movie and would love to be called back later.
However, what irks me most to the point of anger is just how…how can you not tame your phone while watching a play performance? You do not even have the slightest respect for the fact that there is a living human being on stage, subject to distractions. The price you have paid for the ticket is only to relish a fraction of the talent the person on stage possesses and is not enough to buy the artist or the theatre itself. By no means is it justified that you mar a stellar performance by your inconsiderate behavior and keep repeating the same mistake at every cinema hall or theatre.
And if the point is still not driven home then try being a performer with someone like you in the audience distracting you and driving you out of character.You also often ignore the ‘presence’ of a human being right before you and engross yourself in talking to a person far away in the virtual world. The person providing you company, (who is at most times, someone close and taken for granted easily like a friend or a parent) has chosen to do so with the expectation of some attention from you, if not undivided and a little more respect than what you display when you text away merrily as they sit and watch you.
Your phone even blares unapologetically inside hospitals, schools or meetings. If gadgets are that important to you then I guess you should download some application titled ‘consolation app’ or a virtual ‘shoulder’ to cry on so that real people in your life are spared when its your turn to need them and their undivided attention.
Maybe your gadgets have in fact, already replaced an important person or maybe they have transformed you into an inanimate object. It’s not your fault; it’s just a collective and rampant disregard for basic courtesies. We as a nation have little regard for human beings and for boundaries. So maybe we should be taking responsibility and start by correcting our own mistakes first and then move on to correcting others.
Also, it is understood that some calls are important and require attention but when we are on the other end of the line, trying to reach someone’s phone, we often keep trying without considering the possibility that the other person could be busy or simply does not wish to answer the phone. It would do us all good to be more considerate and sensitive whether we are calling or being called and to reduce the importance of gadgets in our lives. Or at least believe that human beings are just a notch more important than a loud, distracting, persistent, invasive ring of a cell phone.
Just another fellow human being.
Vidhi Salla is writer, blogger, movie buff and traveller. She writes movie reviews and also contributes informative travel articles to websites. She gave up a lucrative corporate career to pursue creative writing, that she strongly believes is her calling.