Be courteous, save cell phone temper tantrums for private places

Hi, Annoyance? It’s me, Common Courtesy. If you were getting coffee Monday morning in the Mary Couts Burnett Library, you might have heard what could have been the voice of your nightmares.

Well, if your nightmares include a petite girl outfitted in sorority letters screaming into a cell phone, then you would be right.

This girl should win an Oscar for the loud argument, dramatic hand gestures and grimaces.

If only she were acting.

At first I was laughing thinking of the poor soul she was destroying – maybe a boyfriend, ex-friend, etc. Then I realized it was her mother.

It was no longer a laughing matter.

“People are defining new rules and new behavior for what’s personal and what’s private,” said Robbie Blinkoff, principal anthropologist at Context-Based Research Group, in an article on microsoft.com.

It seems many cell phone users don’t understand the meaning of the word “private.”

“Private, adjective – 1a: intended for or restricted to the use of a particular person, group, or class; 1b: belonging to or concerning an individual person,

company, or interest,” according to Merriam and Webster.

As awkward as it is to be an innocent bystander in the same room where a confrontation is taking place, try standing in line behind a girl screaming at her mother on a cell phone.

That should have been what’s called a “private conversation.”

“People have a tendency to talk louder on cell phones than they do on regular phones. In fact it’s called ‘cell yell,'” says Larry Magid, CBS news technology analyst. “There’s no reason why you can’t speak in a normal conversational tone,” he said in an article for cbsnews.com.

All the more reason to keep your cell phone arguments in check and to yourself.

A vast majority of cell phone users – 86 percent – report being irritated at least occasionally by loud and annoying cell users who conduct their calls in public places, according to an article by Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Internet & American Life Project. Indeed, nearly one in 10 cell phone owners admit they have drawn criticism or irritated stares from others when they are using their cell phones in public, according to Rainie.

Those stares are warranted; not everyone wants an uninvited and in-depth look into your personal life.

If the conversation doesn’t involve an emergency, then be considerate of those around you – we don’t want to hear about it.

Lower your voice, take the phone outside and, for all our sakes, be nicer to your mother.

Opinion editor Sonya Cisneros is a senior news-editorial journalism and communication studies major from Fort Worth.