Cell Phone Etiquette- Hello?

Culture clash #2.

Okay, I am now at the Portland, Oregon, airport and waiting for my flight to Japan, so I thought I’d write this up before I forget. I just returned the rent-a-car, boarded the shuttle bus for the terminal, got myself comfortable in the back, and waited for the rest of my fellow passengers.

One of the last to board was a large lady–and I use that term both literally and figuratively. She plopped herself down in the two seats next to me and settled in for the short trip. After everyone was in and the doors locked, we departed. No one was in a chatty mood so the bus was totally silent when the large lady pulled out her cell phone and made a call.

There is a voice we all recognize when the caller is speaking to a message machine and my guess this is what she was doing.

“Hi. Just to let you know that I’m at the airport and everything is okay.” This seemed logical enough. She was letting family know she made it, I thought. But she went on.

“I think the hurt feelings are taken care of and I have no idea what their problem was really. I think it’s just a ‘guy thing’ and maybe it’s because we left them alone for too long. Who knows? But don’t worry about it. I took care of everything and settled all the ruffled feathers. Okay. I’ll talk to you later and have a good day.”

Now I know I am a relatively private person and I never use the cell phone in public unless I can help it, and granted I live a rural life where using a cell phone is a rare event in the first place, but I am not used to people talking on the phone as though no one in their immediate vicinity existed, much less mattered. I noted that the conversation lifted no eyebrows among the other passengers some of whom were male. I tried to make eye contact with someone so we might share the joke, but everyone stared straight ahead.

How is it that people have come to feel they can intrude on your life with their inane conversations on the phone? And why is it we tolerate it? I know. I know. There are worse instances than this one, but I mean really!

My flight leaves at 2:30PM pacific time , headed for more culture clash… Next post from Japan.

Published by SC Morgan

I grew up in Oregon and learned not everything is black and white. Now I live in the jungles of Costa Rica where the shades of gray cover the full spectrum. I shoot my mouth off on my blog, social media sites, and sometimes I get published. You can find my blog here: https://scmorgancom.wordpress.com/

6 thoughts on “Cell Phone Etiquette- Hello?

  1. I’m with you on this.I don’t want or need a cell phone so it amuses me on public transport during peak-hour travel around 5.30p.m., how many people pull out their phones, and compete in loud voices with the “Hi, I’m on the bus home at the moment…”. Then another one starts up somewhere else. I for one, wouldn’t need to know where someone is every living minute of the day.Can’t they do this before or after the bus? Is this the phenomena for people who don’t like to read?It’s kind of like using an cotton ear-bud in public -Can’t you do that at home?…and no I don’t want to see what’s on the end of it.Gripe out the way, I hope you are having a good trip, and look forward to hearing more. It’s all exciting!.


  2. Hi Sarah!Our VIRGIN RAIL (and probably other major railways here doing long runs) have “quiet coaches” in which you are to turn off any radios or laptops that have sound unless you have a headset, and mobile phones are to be switched off. You are also asked to keep regular conversation to a reasonable volume. The coach is also soundproofed. And, it’s lovely. HOWEVER, don’t you know there is ALWAYS someone who gets the mobile out and, in a loud voice, talks inanely for the entire trip. Someone complains. Mind your own business. It is my business. The hell it is. And the railway staff tell the offender to switch off, and he does. I had no idea I couldn’t use it. Backs turned, out with the mobile again.And the conversation? Oh, we’re just passing a tree outside Hexham. Why cannot these people exist for an hour without babbling?I went to a lecture by Sigmund Freud’s grandson (Sir Clement Freud) recently and the speaker said that we COULD leave our mobiles on, but if one rang … HE had to answer it. I tell you, everyone clicked off PDQ!Next, people will be farting in public …


  3. Ross & Pam- I know. Almost everyone I talk to hates this behavior, so… who are these other people, I want to know? Obviously we don't want to know them but they sure want us to know about their lives. Eleanor Rigby. I'm here in Japan and having a bit of trouble connecting to the Internet, so I won't be posting from here. I should be back when I return to the USA.


  4. Hmmmm . . . see, I take a different view here. Being a natural born eavesdropper, I don't mind listening in to a conversation. And being a speculator, I enjoy figuring out possible scenarios that are being discussed. In fact, I can see myself turning to the woman when the conversation ended and shaking my head and saying, "Life, huh?" And then she'd fill me in. I love that. Besides, what if she was talking to a seat mate? what's the difference? And I'd still eavesdrop. :>)


  5. I’ve had a cell phone for a couple of years, but have a hard time remembering to use it. No one but my wife and son know the number. She is usually with me, and when my son calls my cell, either the phone is home on the dresser or the battery has faded. (That is SO twentieth century!)


  6. Ruth– I’m reminded of the time my mother visited my brother when he was a Peace Corps volunteer in Honduras– years ago. They were riding the bus and a couple was chatting away in the seat next to them. My mother said to my brother, “I envy you being able to understand Spanish.” To which my brother replied, “Sometimes it’s better not to know.” That’s how I feel. I know you are the consummate eavesdropper and would probably like to know the context of the woman’s conversation with the answering machine. My sense is she is begging for that contact and would chat your ear off for the rest of the bus ride. Don’t ask me why, but people tend to tell me their life stories, unbidden I might add. I have learned to avoid these conversations. Most of them are not very interesting. Occasionally, I grant you, but not usually.Bob- I’m with you on this one. I have a cell phone and use it when we go to San José because finding a phone booth is hard and finding a quiet one is even harder, but they are not my favorite contraptions.


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