Picture this, and I’m sure it won’t be hard to do.
It’s a crowded room, but a quiet environment. Maybe it’s a council meeting, church service or right during the good part of a blockbuster movie you decided you didn’t want to wait for its release on Netflix. Like death and taxes, you can almost bet someone’s cell phone will ring.
And then you can almost bet after someone’s cell phone rings, that person has trouble shutting the ring off. Or even finding the phone, for that matter. Big purses can often serve as a black hole for these types of things, hiding the one thing you need in that moment but somehow doing a poor job muffling the sound.
At New Castle city council, it’s almost become a friendly competition among the council members of whose phone will go off first.
As a Young Person, it generally annoys me when someone’s phone goes off during an inopportune time. Sure, the social norms will tell you it’s a little rude, especially if I just paid $11 to see the ninth installment of Fast & Furious in a theater. If someone interrupts my Vin Diesel screen time, I get furious fast.
One of the big things that annoys me when this phenomenon of ringing phone happens — grinds my gears, if you will — is that I feel everyone’s eyes always turn to the youngest person in the room as if they’re the culprit. If you’re one of those people, I have a message for you: it’s not.
My cell phone ringer is never on. Heck, my phone doesn’t make any noises or clicks or beeps when I press buttons. I got a new phone in October and I’m not even sure what the ringtone sounds like.
It’s always either on vibrate or silent, much like (I’m guessing) most people my age. I can assure you, it’s not a duck call or a high-pitched beep or even the default tone. (Do you think a duck is ever flying near a council meeting, hears a duck call ringtone and starts looking for what could be a new friend? I don’t.)
If my phone’s ringer is never on, one might wonder how I know when I get calls. Well, I don’t get a lot of calls, but when I do I’m generally near my phone or feel it buzzing in my pocket or on my desk. If I’m too far away from my phone that I can’t hear it vibrate then I’m definitely too far away had the ringer been all the way up and I would have missed the call anyway.
If that’s the case, leave me a 10-second voicemail or a two-sentence text of what you want and when you need it. I’ll get back to you.
We’re at the point in history and accessibility where it can almost be assumed most people have a cell phone, and of those people the majority probably are carrying it with them. All I ask is that when in public settings, we collectively turn down our ringers.
If you don’t know how and forget what the insurance commercial says, ask someone young. They’ll help. The quiet and serenity will provide more opportunities to getting back to what these communal spaces are all about — yelling at each other about policy at meetings or sitting in a sticky theater watching 50-year-old action stars doing impossible stunts on screen.
(Pete Sirianni is the managing editor at the New Castle News. Email him at email@example.com.)