By Kevin Wilson
A few years ago, I was on a date with my friend Stephanie. We’d decided to go to the movies.
I only had two regrets from that night. The first was that I was given the honor of picking the movie, and I chose the unwatchable “K-Pax.” The second was that I didn’t have a clear cell-phone policy.
I reminded Stephanie (as I do with all friends) upon sitting down that it was time to turn the cellular phones off. Stephanie disagreed, stating that her mother might need to reach her for some sort of emergency over the next 90 minutes (even though she lived four hours away from her mother and couldn’t reasonably do anything in that amount of time).
I compromised with her, and she set her phone on the vibrate setting. I would have won this argument, except that I was using my cell phone right after the movie to get an update on the seventh game of the World Series.
(Note to all single women: I picked quality time with a girl over the World Series.)
Twice that night I used my cell phone for frivolous purposes, after setting a limit on how Stephanie should use her cell phone. Looking back on that night and thinking about how far cellular phones have come these days, it makes me wonder if I and others should enter some kind of cell phone behavior program.
I do what I can to be “cell-ibate” at times, but I’ve made mistakes. I’ve let calls go to voice mail during meetings and haircuts, but I’ve taken calls while I was a customer in line.
Without putting it into words, I was telling every customer in line behind me that my phone call was more important than the business they had to conduct. To me, that’s more than enough reason to start a cell phone usage policy.
I know that we can’t force people to abide by these programs, so I’m just asking for volunteers. Copy this document, or type it out and add additional requirements for yourself and others. I’m going to try these rules and see what I come up with.
Rule No. 1: Your phone call isn’t important enough to take or make if you are:
• In a line and will be served within the next five minutes (phone use is acceptable if you are in the back of a 100-foot line to get into a movie).
• Determining what grocery items or fast food to buy or movies to rent. That’s what shopping lists are for.
Rule No. 2: Cell phones can be on when you are at a restaurant on your lunch break, provided that:
• Your phone’s ring, and the ensuing call, are not louder than any other conversation at the restaurant.
• You do not say “I’ll let it go to voice mail” and make everybody else in the restaurant listen to your ringtone for the next 30-45 seconds.
Rule No. 3: Only when it is absolutely, without a doubt, somebody-may-hyperventilate-if-I-don’t-take-this necessary to answer a call should you do so while driving. With top-heavy SUVs and road rage becoming all too familiar, drivers should be paying more attention to their driving, not less.
I’m sure there are many more ways to avoid cell-phone use, and I always welcome communication on that topic. But just don’t call me about it — write it down.
Kevin Wilson is the managing editor of the Portales News-Tribune. He can be reached at 356-4481, ext. 33, or by e-mail: