Volume 12, no. 3
You’re Just Not That Important!
By jennifer j. rose
Lawyers (and others) seem to think that their marriage to their cell phones is a mark of diligence and attention to their clients, constantly showing off their harried existence to the rest of the world. The truth is that they’re being rude to their clients—and to everyone else within listening distance. Ignoring the boundaries between the private and the public world, setting themselves off in a private gated community, they’re intrusive. And they’re stealing something priceless—attention to everyone within earshot. It’s no different from lighting up a cigar and telling off-color jokes during mass.
Look over at that ear-budded lawyer chatting in the air while he paws through the underwear department at Hecht’s, presumably to someone whose needs simply cannot be deferred a single moment. How much attention is he really paying to the client when he’s faced with deciding between boxers or briefs? Now glance over at those four lawyers trying to hold a meeting, each of them interrupted in succession by their cell phones, huddling over, ever so slightly twisting the head in another direction and trying to speak in confidential tones while the others politely tone down the conversation, waiting for the call to end. The meeting’s duration could be cut in half if the cell phones were shut off. Unless you’ve got a client on Death Row, moonlight on a liver transplant team, or are regularly in touch with Condoleezza Rice about important matters of State, you really don’t have to be 24/7/365 with your Nokia.
Don’t pretend that you can’t help it that you’re so much in demand that everyone within earshot has to be annoyed with your electronic rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” Or that we have to watch you wiggle and squirm like you’ve got ants in your pants while you fidget for the vibrating cell phone. There’s a reason why voice mail was invented: use it.
So many cell phone users can’t seem to comprehend that others within listening range really aren’t that interested in the intimate details of their lives. Just last month, waiting at a gate at the Houston airport, I had no choice but to hear all about one man’s dinner, his stock options, and his digestive problems, a young woman’s romantic adventures of the evening past, and an insurance salesman’s recitation of the profit margins of the Birmingham office. Not one of those conversations bode any urgency, and each invaded my space. More intelligent discourse has taken place on Beavis & Butthead. For all I know, each of these cell phone users was talking to the family dog.
Can you hear me now? I am not impressed.
jennifer j. rose, a lawyer who abhors cell phones, is editor-in-chief of GPSolo and lives in Morelia, Michoacán, Mexico.