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People in Public, Turn Down Your Damn Phone!

Photograph by Twenty20

I was sitting in a restaurant a few evenings ago with my kids, enjoying a heaping platter of eggplant parmesan, when our discussion was cut off by a man tuning into his cell phone.

Suddenly, music was blaring from his screen and I thought for sure he'd turn it right down. After all, it accidentally happens to everyone at some point. But he didn't.

Then he proceeded to show his wife whatever was on his screen as people around started giving him the side-eye. Again, giving him the benefit of the doubt, I figured he wanted to show her something, have the music blasting for effect and very soon would realize there were other people present who weren't impressed with the noise pollution he was tossing around.

Yet again, I was mistaken. It went on for about seven minutes. Even my three teenagers thought it was rude.

A few days later, as I sat in a coffee shop to work (along with many other people who were there to work), someone started playing a video game with the volume cranked. Same situation: It wasn't a mistake. They didn't turn it down and apparently forgot earbuds. They didn't care who heard the firing of their violent video game.

Always freaking mute, OK?!

So, here's a public service announcement people of the world: When in public, get yourself some earbuds—or mute that shit. No one wants to hear noises from your cell phone. No. One.

I don't care if you are in the local fast food joint, on the subway or standing in line at the dry cleaners. There's something about hearing a phone on full volume that's jarring and disrupts people's train of thought.

You may think it's not that big of a deal, or people can just tune out the sound of your phone, but they can't.

My entire family tried to, that Saturday evening while trying to have a nice meal together, and we all lost our train of thought about 50 times because someone didn't have the decency to mute their phone or wait until later when they were in the privacy of their own home or car to listen to a really bad heavy metal band of yesteryear.

We all love our phones, but public is not the place to turn the volume up—or even on. Always freaking mute, OK?! The rest of the people in the establishment enjoy being able to carry on an actual conversation or bow their heads over their own phones without having to listen to yours.

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