22 October 2008

"How rude!" --S. Tanner

Yesterday afternoon, we are in the small conference room (cozily fits ~25 people) to hear an invited speaker.

Before she begins her presentation, she asks if anyone has any general questions within her area of expertise.

One person in the audience, we'll call him Binky, asks a question.

Madam speaker begins to answer the question. She is about 2 1/2 sentences into her answer when Binky's cell phone rings softly. He answers the cell phone.

Now the only sound in the room is the voice of Madam speaker and the whispering of Binky into his cell. It's bad enough when people are looking at text messages while supposedly in conversation with you.*

As you know, there is nothing more distracting than someone whispering. People turn towards Binky, annoyed. Binky keeps the conversation going.

After another few sentences, Madam Speaker grinds to a halt mid-sentence and says: Aren't you the one who asked the question?!

Someone elbows Binky and he says: I'm sorry. It's my son. He's having a problem.

He smiles, as if that explains everything, and walks out of the room, talking into his cell phone the whole time.


That's how to represent the organization well.

Jeez Louise, Binky. Either it's an emergency, in which case you explain it's an emergency and excuse yourself as soon as the phone rings or it's not an emergency in which case you turn your phone off.

* Okay, I am rather addicted to checking my (noiseless) messages/email on my phone but I try to be a bit discreet about it at work and I refuse to do it in social settings. At work, the old hold-the-phone-under-the-table-edge-while-you-check-it is a popular, although fairly transparent, gambit.**

** Okay, okay. I have briefly checked my messages in social settings when visiting the ladies room.
Hey, you might as well be productive while you wait in line.***

*** I am a first-class rationalizer.


Bilbo said...

I cannot tell you how many deeply personal cell phone conversations I have overheard coming from stalls in Pentagon mens' rooms. Many people evidently think that a cone of silence descends when the door is closed.

Doug said...

Wow - I think we were on the same page in our posting this morning - I talk about exactly the same thing (well, I get to it eventually that is. haha) It's funny sitting in big meetings and looking around. If you didn't know about blackberrys etc you'd think everyone was just staring at their own crotches.

Narm said...

Thank you for not strangling me at the bar when I was checking text messages. Had I know it annoyed you so much - I would have waited till you turned your head.

Reya Mellicker said...

Fractured attention spans breed ill mannered people. For heaven's sake.

Herb of DC said...

How did Binky handle his "problems" during the work day when he was his son's age?

Exactly. Thank you.

Kristin said...

Why do people need cell phones in meetings? If it's that important, cancel the meeting.

rs27 said...

A guy names Binky has a son?

Now I have seen it all.

fiona said...

someone should have shoved a binky in binkys mouth to shut him up!

LBluca77 said...

My old boss used to stop meeting to take a call from her son. A son who was a senior in HS would call to tell his mommy he was home from school. Ya good luck finding a wife for him.

GreenCanary said...

I believe that humanity lost something when the Blackberry was created. It was called MANNERS.

Mike said...

Although they are illegal in the US, they do make devices that block cell phone transmissions. I hear some theaters have them installed already.

Gilahi said...

Cell phones have only made the problem worse. Before they were around, how many times were talking face-to-face with someone when the phone rings and everything has to stop while it's being answered? This is especially aggravating if you're paying for a purchase and the person abandoning you to answer the phone is the cashier.

lacochran said...

Bilbo: I often wish the cone of silence did descend in bathrooms.

Doug: Well, some crotches are more worthy of stares than others.

Narm: So sweet.

Reya: It's true. I am one of the deeply fractured.

Herb of DC: Exactly. No, no, thank YOU!

Kristin: Because they're bored and want to look important?

Rs27: Maybe he got the missus drunk.

Fiona: There's never a binky around when you need it, is there?

Lbluca77: Yuh. Suppose he still calls Mummy every afternoon?

GreenCanary: So true.

Mike: Don't toy with me... I've been fooled before.

Gilahi: Oooo, I HATE that. I'm here in person!! Deal with ME!!!