WEB COLUMN: Cell phone hell?

They come in myriad sizes, shapes and colors. One can change their faces, buy them accessories and take them just about anywhere – and most people do! Now, I am not talking about the multitude of Mattel’s Barbie dolls. I am referring to the wide world of cellular phones.

By now, almost everyone under the sun is connected to the cellular world. One by one, people are falling victim to the cell-phone craze. We need some way for friends and family to keep in touch with us when we are away from home, especially at college.

Increasingly, public establishments are either banning cell phones or requesting that they be set to silent mode. Many people try to respect these pleas and requests, but others are simply oblivious. It seems as though everywhere you turn someone is on the phone. Of all the run-ins I have had with cell phones, the following are the cases that linger in my memory.

One time in J Street, I was walking through Starbucks and took notice of the usual extremely long line. Just about every other person in line had a phone up to his or her ear and was conversing intently. I felt as though I was in a Nokia commercial! I then turned to my friend to share my observation with him only to discover that he was in the midst of dialing a number on his cell phone. Sure, I am guilty of owning a cell phone, but is there anyone who does not have one?

How about the infamous call that comes in the middle of a class? A cell phone rings that sounds similar to mine, my face turns beet red as the rest of the students in my class turn their heads in the direction that the ring came from. I try to pretend that it is not mine by turning to look in the same direction as the rest of the class and make them think that it’s the person sitting next to me. After deviating their attention through the successful use of eyebrow and facial expressions, convincing them that it is in fact my neighbor, I casually reach into my bag to turn off the phone.

Another time, I was sitting in chemistry class learning about the various forms of contraceptives when a verse of La Cucaracha polluted the air. A soft chuckle came from the class while a look of disbelief fell over the professor’s face. No less than five minutes after the first musical disturbance occurred, simultaneous renditions of Beethoven’s `Ode to Joy’ and `Fur Elise’ began competing for the distraction of the professor. At this point the perturbed professor demanded that all phones be turned off.

Cell phone disturbances during exams are the most unappreciated. I was taking a final Thursday afternoon and someone’s cell phone rang. The person compounded the problem by making no attempt to turn off the phone or at least put it on vibration mode. Moments later the same phone rang.

The people sitting in my general vicinity were hemming and hawing in disgust. By the third distraction, someone finally said, Turn off your cell phone! Obviously this student is in the middle of taking an exam and has no intention of answering the phone until after they exit the room, so why not just turn it off?

Besides, it is nice to look forward to the voicemail knowing that someone wanted to talk to you.

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