LESLIE CRISS: Cell phone etiquette important, could save a life or two

By Leslie Criss

“Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use.”
– Emily Post

“Consideration for others is the basic of a good life, a good society.”
– Confucius
An email popped up on my computer earlier this week announcing that July is National Cell Phone Courtesy Month. Really?
Clearly, there are masses of humanity who missed that proclamation. Or maybe they decided to simply ignore it.
Here’s a disclaimer: I own a cell phone. And I have probably used it in a way, from time to time, that would be considered rude to someone. So, I’ll offer a blanket apology right here.
My grandmother always said one should “sweep under your own doorstep before you point out the dirt under someone else’s.”
Truth is, we all could use some extra training in manners these days. For many of us, it would be a refresher course; for others, I’m afraid it would be a first-time lesson.
Here, for those who might take note, are 10 commandments of cell phone use, compliments of CableOrganizer.com.
1. Respect those you are with. If you have made plans with someone for dinner or other social event, he or she deserves your attention. Conversations with others via your cell phone can wait.
2. Let voicemail handle non-urgent calls when appropriate. That’s what it’s for.
3. Set a good example to the younger generation. Kids learn by example. They also learn by being taught. They are already more technologically inclined than most adults I know. Now, teach them to be well-mannered technologically inclined human beings.
4. Wait to text and save a life. I still see folks texting while trying to drive a vehicle. And these are not just teenagers. Continue to do it and someone, somewhere at some point will be hurt or killed.
5. Stash your cell when dining out. Does this really need any explanation? I’ve watched, more than once, couples having a meal together and one of the two staying on a cell phone nearly the entire time. Obviously, someone’s mama did not offer much home training.
6. Leave your cell phone at your desk or in your pocket when you visit the restroom. You may think the person to whom you are speaking won’t know where you are, but echoes, running water and flushing will all but give it away.
7. Keep arguments under wraps.
8. Mind your manners.
9. Don’t ignore universal quiet zones.
These three easily could be meshed into one major commandment. Here’s the bottom line: No one wants or needs to hear your business – or one side of your business. So, keep your voice down.
10. Don’t make service personnel wait on you. It makes me happy to see signs at banks and restaurant drive-throughs telling drivers to stay off their cells while doing business. Put those signs up inside businesses, as well. Let’s be truthful: We’d be upset if those waiting on us in a bank, restaurant or other business, were talking on phones rather than giving us service. We owe them that same courtesy.
Remember, July’s National Cell Phone Courtesy Month. That gives us three days to be courteous.
Feel free to carry it on over into August.