National Review theatre critic, Kevin Williamson, got himself in a kettle of controversy last week when he lost his mind and grabbed a fellow theatre-goers cell phone and chucked it across the room.
Theatre Nights: Vigilantes 1, Vulagarians 0
This action earned him a slap across the face and a uniformed escort from the theatre.
Turns out he was trying to watch the play he was hired to review and despite numerous requests from both management and himself, the woman next him would not stop talking loudly and using her cell phone throughout the performance.
His actions have spawned a range of reactions but to Kevin I say:
There but for the grace of God go I…
I was at the movies a few months back and the woman next me was on her cell phone throughout the entire movie. The light from her phone was in my eyes and she kept chuckling when she texted back whoever was texting her. I wanted to grab her phone and type: “Just paid $20 to miss the whole movie by texting. lol.” Unless she was saving lives through her job at the UN or finding a cure for cancer on her phone, there was no excuse. I almost pulled a “kevin williamson” that night.
I’m not a Neanderthal – I like technology. I like having a cell phone in case of emergencies and I enjoy blogging and updating my Facebook status, which my children say makes me slightly more evolved than a T-Rex.
Sometimes I feel like a throwback to another era. Not as far back as the pioneers or anything gross like that (nooo…I like running water…and antibiotics) but at least to an age where people ignored the world around them politely by daydreaming or impatiently waiting for their turn to talk.
Don’t get me wrong. I can be just as rude as the next person when I’m having a conversation. I am particularly known for desperately wanting to tell my related story before you’ve finished your story, which means I’m not really paying attention to your story. My mind wanders and I don’t have a full handle on how to rein it in just yet.
But I don’t get being tethered to your cell phone. Just because it “dings’ doesn’t mean you have to immediately check it. You’re not Pavlov’s dog. You won’t get a treat if you check it within 5 seconds.
I sort of get teenagers being obsessesd with their phones. They’re social creatures and their brains aren’t fully developed yet.
But adults? Seriously folks.
Live in the moment.
If you are at a concert, watch the concert. Don’t watch it through the 3-inch square screen you hold in front of your face (disrupting the view of the rest for us, I may add). You’re paying a lot of money to watch a teeny-tiny concert.
If you’re at work, do your work (this does not apply if your job involves using a cell phone – please don’t send me a message blathering on about how you need your phone for work – that’s not what this is about.)
If you’re having a conversation with someone, focus on that person.
Turn off the sound on your phone. Check it when you’re free from other distractions.
For that matter, you could…dare I say it? Turn it off.
I know, 21st century blasphemy. I can just hear the shrieking now: But I can’t turn it OFF! What if? What if?
What if #1: “But what if my kids need me???”
Not to sound like I just rode in on the buggy with Laura Ingalls, but we all survived a childhood where we couldn’t contact our parents every second of the day and we LIVED.
As a matter of fact, the very, very rare times I called my father at work, it often went like this:
Me: “Dad, it’s me, Heather.” (I thought it was very important to identify myself, even though I was (and still am) his only daughter and the use of the term “dad” should have sufficed.)
Dad: “Why are you calling me at work?”
Me: “I cut myself and there’s blood everywhere!”
Dad: “Well, what can I do about it? I’m at work! Put a band-aid on it and wait until your mother gets home. And get your homework done.”
My children never call me at work. They enjoy the time we spend apart too much. They have texted me, though. I check these when school is over. These texts are usually earth-shattering notes that involve asking if we can have pizza for supper, instead of something ‘gross and healthy’ or to tell me that they forgot to get their science test signed and now they’re in trouble. In the words of my father: what do you expect me to do about that now?
What if #2: “But what if my spouse needs me???”
To do what? Tell you that they’re having a sucky day? Hello…we call that dinner conversation in my house.
What if #3: But what if someone funnier and more interesting than you is trying to get in touch with me?
Ahhh, now that’s the honest answer. Or at least it’s the one I think of when you constantly focus on your phone when I’m with you.
Put down the phones, people, and live the life that is going on around you (ie. Focus on Me!)
p.s. To my friends who are wondering, “OMG, is she talking about me?!” The answer is, of course not! I’m talking about that other person…you know, the one we talk about..behind her back? Duh, what kind of person do you I think I am? I love YOU.
9 thoughts on “Take that phone and chuck it.”
I agree with most of this. However, I nearly got thrown out of a movie theatre with only two other patrons (sitting far away from us) because at the very beginning of the movie we wanted to know who one of the actresses is…so I pulled out my phone to check ImDB. I would never o that if the theatre were crowded or sitting near me.
But I also think Kevin Williamson’s actions were wrong. And two wrongs never ever make a right.
But there is almost nothing that can’t wait a couple of hours to find out.
I would (probably) never chuck someone’s phone across the room but what do you do when someone is purposely ruining an overwise enjoyable experience for you? Just let them? When do we stand up for ourselves and say, enough is enough?
I might have taken the phone and given it to management. As a society we are just disrespectful in general.
That’s a good one. I agree with you. As a society, we have just become more and more disrespectful and it’s considered OK. If you call anyone on it, you’re the crazy one!
I love this post and it is so well written. I was tut tutting along all the way through, being ever so holier than thou, Then I remembered last week I was at a funeral, and I had forgotten to tell a mother I could not walk her child home. I had to let her know. So sitting between two very elderly ladies both holding rosary beads, I had to text her during the mass. I did so under my jumper but I know they could see me! I am sure they were far from impressed. So maybe we all slip occasionally. But talking on the phone, that I would not do.
I don’t think it’s a big deal when we do it occasionally or when it’s an emergency. My problem is when people do it all the time, with no regard for anyone else. It’s just bad manners.
hey ho I finally made it over! took every inch of self-control to disconnect from the phone last night, not pavlov’s dog you say?!! I laughed at the description of your Dad, sounds just like me. The school nurse knows not to bother calling me – she’ll just get the standard line “panadol and send’em back to class”. I actually only got an iphone a year ago and am quite spooked by how radically different my life is now to how it was a year ago. Sitting at traffic lights is no longer boring!! (noooooo says the voice of my conscience!!! don’t admit to reading blogs while sitting in the car…).
on a serious note, you are absolutely completely right. Since removing the computer from the house I see the benefits of being disconnected. There’s value in being connected, but there’s equal value in not being connected, too. Balance is the key, right?
That’s why I don’t have an i-phone. Definitely balance. I used to be terrible about reading at other people’s houses. If they had a magazine or a book or a newspaper laying around, I would have to restrain myself from reading in the middle of a conversation. I still have trouble with it! My brother used to say, “My sister’s here! Hide your phonebooks!”
Great post! I’ve seen people on dates texting others…. I don’t answer mine if I’m busy, like tiling. 🙂