People’s voices are, for the most part, really annoying. Even people you like, over time, just get to you. The way they say things, their syntax and expressions, just the whole kit and caboodle (that term is heavily underutilized) will likely drive you nuts over time. That’s why we, as people, need some moments of silence, or you know, a couple hours of Homeland, in order to disconnect and forget that human interactions form the basis of our mundane lives.
Those voices, the oral window into the rotten souls of our fellow man, are made all the more insufferable when talking on their cell phones. They become louder, thinking that it’s still 2001 when talking on the phone was about as clear as a CB radio from space, and also, hearing just one side of a conversation is just aggravating.
I get that there are times when a quick phone call is required. But for the most part, those people that just can’t put the fucker down, simply want everyone around them to hear how important they are. They raise their voice up a few decibels to let the entire coffee shop know just how big a deal they are at work. “Yeah buddy, I closed that deal, 100 perrr-CENT. Bryce thought I couldn’t do it, but now who’s the big dawg on campus [barks and pounds his chest]”. They need to validate their own sense of self-worth by trying to impress strangers via cell phone bravado. For the most part, I imagine that they’re talking to their own voicemail, ensuring that a) people think they have business associates who don’t screen their calls, and b) it gives their otherwise empty voicemail some semblance of purpose. Not even Bryce is picking up your call or calling you back, that’s how awful you are…you’re being shunned by a Bryce. Ouch.
The other annoying public cell phone talker is the person that needs to be talking to someone at all times, lest they be left to the horrors of their own inner monologue. These people tend to have pointless conversations with their friends, where they simply talk shit about their other friends. No public space (bus, doctor’s waiting room, you name it) is off limits to their mobile mayhem. Just the other day, while sitting on a quiet park bench over my lunch hour to try and forget about how much I hate my job, I became a victim to one of these people. There were several empty benches throughout the park, just asking to be sat on. A bench’s whole existence is predicated on begging for lazy assholes (literally) to sit on them. But no, this woman sat on my bench and proceeded to have a heated discussion about how one of her friend didn’t buy her an expensive enough gift for her wedding (the fucking nerve of people who don’t want to go bankrupt because you decided to spend your inheritance on a single night). I sat there asking the gods what I had done to deserve such a punishment. I gave her not one, but two dirty looks, with eyes saying, move to another bench you monster. But she was so lost in her own world that I was the one that had to move, lest I continue to waste brain cells on her lackluster drama.
Cell phone etiquette is one of the rare times we can actually learn something from stupid teens (to the teens reading this, trust me, you’ll be stupid till about 25, at which point, you just become slightly less stupid but more aggravating because life’s stresses will have finally caught up with you). Teens know one very important thing that not all adults have embraced, no one fucking talks on the phone anymore. They text. It’s simply more efficient, as plans and questions can be hashed out in a matter of minutes without any of the filler that we call being cordial. If you want to waste an hour of my life updating me on the humdrum moments of yours, invite me via text for coffee. That way, I can simply avoid you or have enough time to make up a solid excuse without you hearing the obvious lie in my voice.
Some people may counter that this whole argument is stupid. That people around us, on a daily basis, are having conversations with other people, in public spaces, so how is this any different? To them I would say that if it were up to me, I’d still rather those people use texts or notepads to converse, because I really don’t want to listen to them. But they aren’t as awful as solo cell phone talkers because people in public tend to talk a little quieter (because they’re obviously talking shit about their friends and colleagues), and at least you can hear both sides of the conversation when you feel like eavesdropping. But to these people I would still say keep the volume down, and head to areas where noise is more acceptable (coffee shops, bars) and stay away from quiet spaces (parks, libraries, a red-eye flight). And also, don’t be those people that talk during shows, another rant for another day, but those people deserve laryngitis.
Sentence: Anyone caught talking on a cell phone in a public space, for longer than three minutes (the scientifically proven maximum amount of time it takes to make plans or discuss an emergency) will be sentenced to Society Camp for a length of one day.
Reform Punishment: You will be locked in a room with Fran Drescher, who will be having a cell phone conversation with Louis C.K., while he works out new material on her. You will only hear her side of the conversation. You get the point.