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Wendy Ampolsk

Gotta Go, My Cell's Ringing

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I was probably the last human on the planet over 5 to get a cell phone. I didn’t want one. I didn’t want to be part of the Great Cell Phone Conspiracy that currently over-rides every ounce of courtesy left in even the nicest people.

Of course the first time the commuter train broke down, leaving my teenaged son alone in the house with no notion where his Mom was, I bowed to the inevitable and got my phone. And I hate it. I hate when it rings in the car (and no, I don’t drive when I’m talking). I hate when it rings at work unless it’s one of my kids (and even then, when it’s about how much money they HAVE TO HAVE). I hate the high bills, I hate that my neighborhood is in a “dead zone” impervious to any carrier, even the guy with the grey jacket and glasses.

But that isn’t what bothers me so much. So I’m going to vent: There’s a guy at the commuter train station (in an upscale area, although it doesn’t really matter) whom we call “Phone Man” behind his back. Every single day, Monday through Friday, he plops himself down on the benches (indoors or out, depending on the weather) and makes a Looooooooog phone call. There is no escaping his voice; he doesn’t shout, but his voice pierces one’s brain. I, and everyone around Phone Man, know all about his marriage. We know when he fights with his wife. We know their differences about raising their baby. We all know what he and wife and baby (or not) did over the weekend. We know his opinions (very dull) about sports, current affairs, movies, and television—all delivered in a very authoritative voice. We hate him.

Then it’s time to get on the train, and that can be dangerous, as everybody has his/her phone up to their respective ears, and are consequently without any modicum of courtesy whatsoever. So they push, they shove, they just don’t see you…and woe betide if you interrupt that phone call to say “excuse me.” You’ll get a look that can kill.

I could go on. But better, take a look at this month’s Professional Development column in Marketing the Law Firm, entitled Being Civilized in a High-Tech World, by Sharon Meit Abrahams. Very interesting stuff, especially for attorneys and other professionals.

I could write more on this subject, but Ooops! Gotta go, my Call Waiting is on, my Cell Phone is buzzing, and my favorite tune is on my I-pod. Did you say something?

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