• Last modified 3174 days ago (Nov. 10, 2010)


Off the record

We’re seeing the signs — “Please turn off cell phones” and “please end cell phone conversations before entering.” There are even some signs that have a picture of a cell phone with a line through it, often next to the sign with a picture of a gun with a line through it.

It is annoying when we’re talking with someone in person and then the conversation abruptly ends because the person has a phone call.

It is always interesting to me that there has to be a reminder to patients to turn off phones so we can give the doctor our undivided attention.

I used to think it was annoying in restaurants when people carry on conversations — usually loudly — on cell phones while dining.

Remember when it used to be cigarette smoke that was the biggest annoyance in a public setting? We got rid of tobacco smoke in restaurants and buildings. Cell phones are different because they are needed. I have no idea how many minutes I use or the number of text messages that come through my phone — I know it’s a lot. And I have been guilty of taking a phone call while dining in a restaurant.

Remember the days when it was considered extremely rude to be distracted when talking with another person? Recent years have seen an increase in more problems with attention deficit disorder — in children and adults. It’s no wonder. Look how many distractions we have in our lives.

At some point, restaurants, doctor’s offices, and other public places are going to ban the use of cell phones, similar to tobacco bans.

No more talking, texting, playing games, checking e-mails, or watching movies on our phones.

What will we do with all of that time? How will our children survive without our constant contact?

We might actually have to carry on a conversation with the stranger next to us. We might actually have a chance to read a magazine article.

We might actually pay attention to the here and now and not be distracted by electronics.

— susan berg

Last modified Nov. 10, 2010