This morning I had a dentist appointment. Typically the waiting room area is silent and calming. Not today. A man decided he not only wanted to watch a Facebook video but thought the entire waiting room should hear it too. The room appeared visually upset at the full volume broadcast. A woman politely asked the man to please lower the volume. What happened next was a shock when he abruptly replied with “fuck you!” Clearly, diplomacy wasn’t going to work, and civility may be on its deathbed.
I remember a time where there was common sense mobile etiquette in addition to civility in public settings. I am unsure where our manners have gone but have we become a society with a sole purpose of contempt of humanity? It is bad enough sitting at home watching television or attempting to sleep when all of a sudden it feels as if I’m experiencing a minor earthquake. What is actually occurring is some motorist with an in-car speaker system passing by so loudly that the windows and picture frames rattle. Needless to say, it is unnerving and a bit rude on the part of those with powerful vehicle stereo systems. It’s useless to yell to turn down the volume because they could never hear you anyway. Again, common courtesy is discharged because of abuses within freedoms of speech and expression.
I try very hard to show empathy by putting myself in the shoes of others. It is true that sometimes we need some space to let off some steam or get away from drama or whatever is bothering us. But do we need to make so much noise pretending that our personal space is unlimited? Our society enjoys honesty yet is the very culture that won’t say anything to avoid confrontation. Thus why we rarely speak our minds in public and build a reserve of accumulated prejudices from poor experiences of others. Perhaps this is a reason we have a bad race and religious relations in the United States. I am starting to notice the trend of once calm filters become untangled shifting to informal and dramatic decorum in the worst possible way. The bottom line is that I see an increasing amount of hostility and lack of courtesy between one another. This issue highly extends to those that use smartphones in public. It is fair to say that we should be mindful that not everyone wants to hear the latest YouTube funny video in a quiet public setting. Additionally, we are not interested in having to listen to your personal telephone call with colorful graphic details. Finally, I don’t want to ever hear a phone call in the bathroom. It’s creepy enough hearing the person in the next stall straining a possible Taco Bell moment. A fully-fledged conversation is not helping.
How do I know cell phone etiquette is on life support? Go to a movie theater today and try to watch a film from start to finish without hearing a cell phone beep or ring. There is a huge production infomercial to warn people about talking and to silence devices, yet the problem seems to be ignored and growing exponentially. Even if people complain about an unsilenced phone, typically you will hear an occasional “fuck you” in reply from the culprit. It is one thing to accidentally forget to silence a phone but completely another to be belligerent in the matter. At least have the common courtesy to respect your neighbor and adhere to good smartphone etiquette.