Talking On a Cellphone Does in Fact Require Shouting -or- Why is This Guy Always Writing About Cellphones?

I cannot imagine what life would be like without having a cellphone in my pocket, even though there was a time where that was the case.  They allow us to reach people in case of emergencies, or non-emergencies, most people take advantage of their calendar functions, they’re starting to store our music, and most importantly they serve as our clocks.  The ability to be reached by anybody at anytime is a negotiable advantage, but it has certainly come in handy.

I discuss them here because of something that has been bothering me lately.  The volume levels of people talking on cellphones.  This did not seem to be a problem when cellphones first starting gaining in popularity.  This may be hard to believe, but there was a time when people felt a slight tinge of embarrassment over owning a cellphone.  Who could possibly be so important that they would need to be reachable at all times?  The President perhaps, maybe even a CEO of a major corporation, but regular old John Smith?  No way, he can just wait to make or receive that phone call when he gets home.

I remember snickering at my friends as they would politely relocate themselves in order to accept or make a call, much like somebody would on a home phone.  The idea seems so foreign to me now, politely excusing oneself to answer a call, but even I must have done it at some point.  These days we barely interrupt our real life conversions in order to begin our digital ones.  Nothing more than a brief, “hold on a sec,” or a “let me get this real quick,” separates us from the people in front of us and the people on the other line.  Worse though, and the purpose of this column, is our volume.  We talk to the people on the other end of our phones as though we interpret their distance literally.  We shout as though that will be the only way for them to able to hear us.

When did this switch occur?  I have learned more about people’s personal lives just by walking alongside them on the street than I’m sure I ever could during an introductory conversation.  Upcoming doctors appointments, relationship problems, relationship benefits, grocery lists, grades, family quarrels, what happened last night, or at least what you can remember of it.  Everything suddenly becomes transparent while on a cellphone.

For some reason we — and I use the word “we,” because I am just as guilty as everyone else — become oblivious to those around us while on a cellphone.  Maybe its a way to brag about our awesome grocery lists, or maybe we just don’t realize our voices have become louder.

My proposal to stop this?  Butt into somebody’s conversation after they hang up.  “Hey man, that sucks about that party last night, I’m sure that guy won’t press charges though,” or “Hey man, I’m sure that colonoscopy won’t be that bad, good luck.”  The sudden realization that a complete stranger just listened in on your conversation will make us think twice about raising our voice on our phone again.  Maybe we will start saving those more personal conversations for a later time.  Or maybe, you will get the rudest look you have ever received from a stranger.

Of course, it won’t be a problem much longer now.  Remember when we realized that it took twice as long to text somebody as it does to just call them?  Yeah, me neither.

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About Kyle Hilliard
I used to be a freelancer. Now I write for Game Informer magazine. Someday, when the time is right, I will grow a mustache.

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