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Cell phones: intruders in the midst

Spring is here and I truly believe that warmer temperatures are right around the corner (although I could just be in major denial) so when the mercury rises, I intend to be ready with a killer spring/summer wardrobe.

In an attempt to reach my goal, I headed to the mall with my sister Abbie. The first place we hit was a woman's boutique that was selling a lot of pink. Since dressing like Pepto-Bismol is not the fashion statement I aim to make any time soon, I made a beeline for a rack in the back that was sporting an assortment of blues and greens. As I approached the items of interest, I noticed a woman flipping through the dresses and talking on her cellular phone. She looked up and glared at me before turning away. Unfazed, I browsed the merchandise on the opposite side of the rack and discovered a cute yellow dress and, in an indoor voice, asked my sister for her opinion.

Before Abbie could tell me what she thought, the woman on the phone scowled at us. "Excuse me girls," she hissed, covering the receiver with her hand, "I am on the phone with a very important call, and I would really appreciate some privacy."

We quietly apologized. She went back to her call.

"Sorry," she told the person on the other end. "Some people are so rude."

Rude? Us?

Excuse me, but we were in a mall shopping which, the last time I checked, is what people do in a mall. I do not recall the middle of Ann Taylor being the appropriate place to make important phone calls, or any other type of phone call for that matter. Nor do I recall ever assuming that a mall is a prime place for privacy.

It was that woman -- not my sister and I -- who was rude. And sadly, she's not alone.

I'm all for cellular phones. They're great for emergencies and make our lives a little bit easier, but people are really letting their cell phone use get out of hand.

There are certain places you just shouldn't bring your phone. Church, for example, is not the right place to take calls.

A few weeks ago my fellow parishioners and I were horrified when a gentleman's phone call interrupted the sermon. It didn't seem to bother the offender, though.

Sure he left the sanctuary in order to carry on his conversation, but he walked out of the room chatting!

One should also ditch the telephone during lectures. Professors don't take very kindly to incoming calls disrupting their classes, and they shouldn't have to put up with it. Unless you're expecting a life or death phone call what reason could you possibly have for bringing your phone to class? And if you do have a situation where it's that vital that you get the phone, should you even be in class?

It's nearly impossible to get any work done at the library when someone's taking phone calls two feet away. Kant is not the easiest guy to understand to begin with, but he's doubly hard to grasp when one of those high-pitched little songs is alerting the phone's owner that they've got some important gossip coming in.

By the way, those little songs you can program into your phone in lieu of having it ring conventionally -- they are not cute, they are extremely annoying.

The problem of obnoxious cell phone users doesn't appear to be abating any time soon. According to the World of Wireless Communications, there are over 90 million wireless subscribers in the United States alone. On Monday the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association, a cell phone trade group, reported that new subscribers are signing up for wireless service at the rate of one every two seconds. Soon there will be over 100 million users in the U.S. In no time at all preschoolers will be carrying StarTac's to story time.

While no one has officially conducted a study that proves that there's a direct correlation between cell phone addicts and poor manners, it is quite obviously a scientific truth. It seems that when people acquire a cell phone they lose any sense of decorum they might have possessed once.

Rather than being worried about getting cancer from their cellular phones, people should be concerned that they're losing their politeness.

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