Monday, January 29, 2007

Question of the Day

This was a question posed by my good friend, J, and I wondered how people would answer:

Why is it considered rude to talk on a cell phone in a restaurant?

If you had someone sitting across the table from you, you could talk to them and nobody would feel the least bit bothered. But if the person you're talking to happens to be in another state, suddenly you're boorish and insensitive. Why is that?

I think it's kind of rude, but I have trouble articulating why . . . it just is.

I theorize that
the cell phone rings are irritating to many people who are trying to quietly enjoy their meals. People who talk on cell phones usually talk louder than normal, which is also disruptive to those around them.

When you talk to someone across from you, it is considered normal dining conversation – usually held at a normal tone of voice. Even it is loud, people can and do give you dirty looks and tell you both to keep it down.

A person talking on the cell phone? You only hear one side of the conversation. It makes people feel uncomfortable in ways that face-to-face conversations, for the most part, do not. (Unless it’s a heated argument or a drunken harangue, which sometimes can be considered free street theater.) Besides, what’s so darn important that you have to chat about it on the phone in a public place . . .

Which leads to why it annoys people so much – people hate cell phones anyway. It is another conduit of people bringing their private lives and dirty laundry into the public sphere: a loud, obnoxious MySpace page that people can’t block out of their range of hearing.

What do you guys think?


Virginia Gal said...

First off, lovely post on the Holocaust. I love that poem, about who they came is so haunting.

As for the cell phone thing...hmmm why do we consider it rude? I guess for me, I'm not a phone person so I can't understand what could be so darn important that you can't call back?

Eric Grubbs said...

I don't eat out at restaurants enough, but I don't mind if it's in a loud place. In any place that's quiet and a person is gabbing away loudly is annoying.

J said...

Cell phones just make you talk louder. Maybe something about the volume of cell phones, makes us talk louder than we realize. I hate that about them, and try to be conscious of it, but yeah, my husband tells me I'm loud when I'm on the cell phone. Being loud in a restaurant is disruptive, which is why it's rude to talk on your cell in a restaurant. I'm with you on this one. :)

Random Kath said...

Thanks, Virginia Gal, Eric and J!

I'll pass on your answers to my friend, although I have a pretty good idea how they'll react - but now I have backup! :-)