Get Off the Phone


Get off the phone. I mean it. Get off the phone. I don’t want to hear your conversation, I don’t want to be jarred by your ringtone,  I don’t want to hunt for a Bluetooth in your ear to assure myself you’re just a douche on a Bluetooth, not a ranting loony. Actually, I’d like it better if you were a ranting loony.

Please, please, please get off the phone especially in the following five places:

The Car: Seriously, we’ve all been over this a million times. It’s not safe to talk on the phone and drive. Especially if you’re holding the phone with your hand. Think I’m wrong? OK, try this. Hold your phone to your ear. Now try to turn your head that direction. Hard, huh? Your field of vision on that side is pretty compromised, huh? EXACTLY!!! Hang up the phone and drive. Especially if your kids are in the car. Or if my kid is in my car because I definitely don’t want you crashing into us because you just HAD to share the details of your date from last night.

While Shopping: I can almost promise you that no one in Target wants to hear you catch up with your sister about the stomach bug all of her kids had. Least of the all the clerk who is ringing up your purchases. So, hang up the phone, make eye contact with the staff member helping you, and say thank you when they’re done instead of just muttering “Hang on” into your cell so you can scribble your name on the receipt. If I were the cashier and you were paying me so little attention, I’d ring everything up twice just to show you what happens when you don’t focus on the task at hand.

At the Playground with Your Kids: I’m going to tell you a true story. I was at a park this summer watching my kid run around while gritting my teeth over the sound of a rapid-fire cell phone conversation from a woman on a nearby bench. After a few minutes, I heard another mom yell “Who’s child is that? That baby is in the street!”.  Sure enough, a toddler was sitting on the road by the park. Cell-phone mom managed to hang up long enough to retrieve him but she resumed talking shortly thereafter. Luckily, her son had become interested in the bubbles I’d brought for my son and spent the remainder of his time at the park mooching fun off of us. They left after a while but that lady never thanked the woman who saved her kid from being run over or me for playing with him when she was too chatty to bother. So, yeah. Get off phone at the park, ok?

On Public Transportation: In my town there are two kinds of phone conversations that happen on public transportation: loud arguments and loud posturing calls designed to indicate a serious level of professional importance. Both types are usually committed by people in their 20s. For the ones fighting with their significant others on the phone, I’m always tempted to turn around and obviously and avidly listen in, just to remind them that they are in public. For the latter, I want to tell them that truly important people don’t talk on the phone in public because truly important work is best not broadcast to everyone on the Red Line platform at Metro Center. Just sayin’.

In Any Public Restroom: I can’t believe I even need to list this one because it seems so obvious. But it is apparently not common sense. But really, talking on the phone on the crapper? When there is someone else in the next stall? The disrespect going on in this scenario is really mind-blowing. Whenever this happens to while I’m in the restroom I wish I’d eaten more fiber so that I could emit the kind of noises that would make it abundantly clear to whoever you’re talking to, where exactly you are. And I hope it’s your boss.

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16 comments for “Get Off the Phone

  1. Amy
    December 1, 2010 at 8:03 am

    Amen sista.
    I do have a problem with hands free though..for me. I am hard of hearing and wear hearing aids that I can make hands free if I pay an additional $400.00 that will enable them to become blue tooth. Well couldn’t do it since I already am paying over $3000.00 out of pocket for them. So no bluetooth.
    And really people, stop talking on the phone when you are in stores. It is really annoying to try and help someone find a pair of pants etc. and they are jabbering on the phone.

  2. December 1, 2010 at 10:05 am

    I’ve gotten so immune to blue tooth call in stores because I inadvertantly responded to so many people when they first came out. Now I just assume if someone’s speaking in public, it’s probably not to me!

    You make some great points here! Excellent post!

    xo Susie

  3. thenextmartha
    December 1, 2010 at 10:42 am

    The park and the store are the two most annoying to me. Though I’ve been known to tweet at both. wait, does that include texting/tweeting? If so I’m one of “those”

  4. December 1, 2010 at 10:44 am

    And please do not come in my office while I’m on the phone, and make a call on your freaking phone, WHILE SITTING DOWN IN ONE OF MY CHAIRS.

    Breathing, Breathing. Feeling better now.

  5. December 1, 2010 at 11:02 am

    The bathroom… The other day I was in a public restroom and a lady came in, talking on her phone; proceeded to enter the stall next to mine (still talking on her phone); and then did her business (still talking on the phone)… GROSS! There are no words that can articulate my disgust!

  6. D
    December 1, 2010 at 11:20 am

    I totally agree with all of these. And have 2 of my own to add: dressing rooms (but that coincides with stores I guess) and as a passenger in a car. A coworker and I went up to our main office yesterday and I drove. He talked to his dad on the phone for the majority of the way back. I was like, WTH? I couldn’t listen to music or talk to anyone. And I was doing him a favor by driving!!

  7. December 1, 2010 at 11:44 am

    I will never ever EVER forget when I was in the bathroom at work and our VP OF PR was on the phone peeing.

    I never looked at her with ANY respect after that.

  8. December 1, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    girl, my kids say their dad is ALWAYS on the phone. My daughter told me this morning (i’ll give you the short version)…”I had a nightmare last night, we were out in the country with dad on the 4wheeler. These sheep came running past followed by a bear. I grabbed everyone and hopped on the 4wheeler but dad was on the phone like always and wouldn’t listen to me. I woke up just as the bear was grabbing lil man”. How sad right? That’s she’s having nightmares about him being on the phone?

  9. shutupanddrive
    December 1, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    Everything that you listed is RIGHT. ON. THE. MONEY! I get so enraged when I see people talking/texting while driving AND they have their precious babies in the car. Do you not love your kids enough to leave your damn cell phone alone until you get to where you are going??? Really people, WHAT THE HELL IS SO EFFING IMPORTANT THAT IT CAN’T WAIT?? Also? If I can hear you yapping on your cell phone out in public about who did what to whom ~ I have EVERY. RIGHT. to be in on that conversation. What did people do before cell phones? Never leave their house because they didn’t want to miss any calls? GAAAAAAAH ~ this really infuriates me. Some people have no respect for others.

    Rant over–breathing back to normal–need a drink now. Please, everyone, remember that you are not the only one on the road/shopping/in a restaurant/any public place. Be respectful and kind to others around you. If you can’t, then don’t be surprised when someone shoves that phone up your a**.

  10. December 1, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    This is why I love texting/facebook/twitter all on my phone. I almost never use the phone to make phone calls unless I have to call my parents, which refuse to text.

    Oh, and yes, I do make phone calls while driving. However, I don’t text while driving. Might as well just slit your throat right there. But I have a hands free set for my car. I’m in a business where I do business transactions or need to talk people down while I’m on the move, so this is a necessity. Oh, and I’m not retarded and can actually pay attention to what I’m doing while driving. And I also don’t do phone calls on busy interstates. I live out in the country, yo. The only thing I need to worry about is hitting an Amish.

  11. Kate
    December 1, 2010 at 5:56 pm

    Several years ago on NPR, I heard an hilarious commentary by a blind man. He was lamenting the use of cell phones in public since he couldn’t tell if they were talking to him. He was very funny as he related several times he embarrassingly replied to the loud “hello” next to him.

  12. December 1, 2010 at 9:35 pm

    Yeah. I agree with the passenger in the car bit that someone mentioned. It is a HUGE pet peeve of mine (along with eating apples in the car or putting your arm on the headrest behind my head… I’m weird like that).

    Cell phones are obnoxious. But I love mine…

  13. December 1, 2010 at 10:31 pm

    I cannot understand why a person would use a phone WHILE IN A PUBLIC BATHROOM.

    A woman where I work was doing this with such frequency that someone passive/aggressively put up a sign in the bathroom basically saying that if you use a phone in the bathroom you are a disrespectful jackass. She stopped. And then today? And older woman was having an argument on her phone IN THE BATHROOM. I have never hoped more fervently for massive diarrhea.

  14. December 1, 2010 at 11:09 pm

    yup, people are dumb.

    They have recently changed the law here (in New Zealand) whereby it is illegal to talk on the phone unless you have a handsfree unit installed in your car. Texting while driving is out too. Obviously.

    It scares me, regardless of the law changes, how many jackasses I still see driving and chatting holding their phone. I even had a young chick (jeepers I must be feeling old!) pretty much cut me off at an intersection where I had right of way, coz she was looking down at her phone, and then she just smiled a little bashfully and waved sorry. Yeah, honey, that makes it ok that you nearly smashed into my van full of kids. *eyeroll*

    I hate driving.

    No, I LIKE driving. I Hate all the Frickin IDIOTS on the road with me. sheesh!! :O)

    (like my use of whereby? trying to look intelligent or summat) ;OD

  15. Court
    December 2, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    It’s completely disgusting when people use their phones in a public restroom. At school (a state university) a few weeks ago there was a line of five or six people waiting for one of two stalls to open. One stall was occupied by a lady who was on her cell phone….. while pooping! At some point while we were all waiting for the stall not occupied by this lady, she hangs up and proceeds to make another call, and begins talking about her “stomach problems!” All of us were completely horrified…a few expressed their disgust loudly which, unfortunately, didn’t shame the behavior away. I totally agree with the rest of your list as well. I try to teach my kids responsible/courteous cell phone use so they don’t think it’s okay to be rude with their phones.

  16. December 2, 2010 at 10:10 pm

    I actually had to put up a sign where I work informing people that they were not to be on their cellphones while they are at my desk REGISTERING TO BE SEEN IN THE EMERGENCY ROOM! Honestly. If someone walks up and they are on the phone, I just sit there and stare at them until they are done with their conversation. I even asked one person to step aside while they finish their conversation so I can check in the person behind them. So yeah, I get the evil eye a lot at work. Because I’m a rude, inconsiderate customer service person.

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