Smartphone abuse

Anyone who spends more than a couple of minutes with me in person knows that I am obsessed with my iPhone. I have it with me constantly, and am frequently seen using it even at odd times. So what I’m about to say may shock you.

I’m really getting tired of people using their smartphones at inexcusable times.

I know, I know… pot calling the kettle black. And in the interests of full disclosure, let me get out ahead of you:

  • The first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is grab my iPhone, check for txt msgs and emails, and usually read a bit of the news before I get up. It’s also the last thing I check before I go to sleep.
  • I’m the jerk that sometimes doesn’t turn his phone off when instructed to before an airplane takes off… Because c’mon, those extra couple of minutes may get you a few unexpected txt msgs, emails, etc. I do at least put it away once instructed and then check to see what came in after we’re allowed to use them again.
  • Here’s one I’m actively trying to correct — I have a bad habit of checking and responding to txt msgs at the dinner table. I’m making a concerted effort to avoid that, or to at least glance quickly at the buzzing phone to see if it’s urgent, and apologize with a quick explanation to my dinner companions if I do need to respond. (An improvement in progress, I admit.)
  • I bring my iPhone into the bathroom with me, and even have it next to the shower just in case there’s some urgent phone call or txt msg that I simply must address immediately.

I could go on and on with other examples, but the point is: I love my iPhone and I use it too often. And with that acknowledgment on the table, I feel justified in saying that if there’s anyone who knows sincere smartphone abuse, it’s me.

Having said that, I am so freaking tired of people using their smartphones during movies and plays. It’s infuriating, because in a dark room where the audience’s attention is supposed to be focused on what’s happening onstage/onscreen, suddenly a bright light pops up a few rows down in front, and takes you out of the moment.

Turn these the hell OFF during the performance!

I was seeing a play over the weekend (the musical Once, which I’ll tell you about in a later post) and this woman a few seats over in my row kept pulling out her phone. She was using the light to look at the Playbill, which is annoying enough but at least I could bring myself to try to forgive her… but then she was txting, she was reading emails, she was playing a goddamned game in the middle of the performance.

And of course, the timing of her indiscretions couldn’t have been worse. At some of the most poignant, emotional scenes, where the audience is enraptured and holding its collective breath, fighting back tears, BAM! A bright light would pop up, and she’d be cheerfully txting away.

I seriously wanted to hiss “Turn off your goddamned phone!” at her. I trembled with rage, unable to look away, in the hopes that somehow my death look would reach her and she would get the hint. Alas, no such luck.

But then, in a related incident, I got some small measure of satisfaction. The cellphone offender and her group of friends were also quite chatty during the performance, complaining to each other that they didn’t understand what was going on, asking each other questions about the plot, etc. And finally an elderly man in the row in front of ours snapped, “Oh shut UP!” at them, loudly enough to be heard by several rows around.

Normally I would be aghast that someone would make such a public and loud correction, particularly during a performance… But in this case, I have to admit that I was delighted.

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