The trouble with cellphones

May 1, 2003 Culture and demographics Comments (0) 146

In my travels lately, I’ve come to notice that people will use their cell phones anywhere to talk about anything. I’ve been privy to conversations about lawsuits, financial difficulties, and marital disputes, all thrown out in the open for any wandering ear to hear. It’s not that I’m trying to listen. I try to tune out other conversations, but it’s almost as if my ears (and I’m sure those of others) automatically tune in on words or phrases like, “lawsuit”, “…divorcing him”, “caught her in bed with…” or “I’m filing for bankruptcy”. I’m not trying to be nosy; my ears just can’t help themselves.

For a while, I was embarrassed when I inadvertently tuned in, but then I figured that it wasn’t my fault. If these people were not okay with having others overhear their conversations, they wouldn’t be having those conversations within listening distance of others.

This business of cellphones was the topic of a dinner conversation recently with my friend Roger. Roger has a theory that cell phones have replaced cigarettes as a nervous habit. People pull out their cell phones, call others when they feel bored or need to kill 5 minutes or so, and didn’t plan ahead with some reading material. It’s not that they’re conversations are meaningful when they do this. Most of these conversations, according to Roger, consist of such pleasantries as, “What are you doing? I’m just standing in line, waiting…”, or “Where are you? Oh. I’m in line waiting to buy movie tickets. Really? Which line? Oh, there you are…”

Roger may be on to something with this theory. In the airport the other day, while visiting the men’s room, I heard a cell phone ring and the guy in the stall next to me answered and said, “Hello? Oh, hi. I’m at the airport…just hanging around waiting for my flight…”.

I guess he just didn’t have anything to read.

David Harkins is a serial entrepreneur, which is a more professional way of saying he is still trying to figure out what he wants to be when he grows up.
When not working for himself, he has had a fulfilling career in marketing, advising both large and small companies including several in the Fortune 500 and many of America’s largest nonprofit organizations. In his spare time, he consults, speaks, writes, hikes, explores, and creates art. Although, not necessarily in that order. Connect with him on social media below:

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The trouble with cellphones

by David Harkins time to read: 1 min
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