Cell phone rules apply to all

I still think I’m a good person.

I’ll let my buddy know if he’s got a speck of pepper stuck to the front of one of his teeth.

I’ll hold the door an extra second or two when a crinkly senior citizen is nearing the entrance to McDonald’s.

And hey, I’ve even been know to wave a fellow motorist on when we reach a four-way stop simultaneously.

But despite all that, a decision I made a few weeks ago has resulted, undoubtedly, on some onlookers taking me as one of “those guys.”

I now own a cellular phone.

And no matter how much I tell myself – at least for me and my daily life – that the purchase made sense from both convenience and financial perspectives, I’ll sometimes get a funny feeling when I use the phone.

I don’t know if it’s so much a sense that I’m annoying, inconveniencing or even offending people in my presence, but something just feels unnatural.

For those of you on the outside looking in – in other words, those poor unfortunate souls that are restricted to the confines of landline phones – you’ve probably allowed yourself to get the impression that we cell-users are, to put it plainly, idiots.

Or at the very least that we use cell phones simply to “be seen.” (Oh, look! It’s Johnny Important on a cell phone! He has so many people to speak with, he has to do it while on a smoke break!).

I’m not going to try to defend cell phone users. Cell phones are becoming more and more popular. In a few years I can’t see how these negative connotations won’t be dissolved just because so many people will have cells.

But to help speed up the perpetuation of the negative cell-phone-aura, I’d like to point out a few types of cell users that do deserve a little ridicule.

They use their cell phones (or in some cases, pretend to do so) in manners that fuel the stereotypes that we cell users have been pinned with.

I’m not pretending to list every type of these people, but I thought listing a few might raise some eyebrows (you know who you are).

Avoid being “those guys” and we’ll undoubtedly speed up the cell phone users’ immersion into everyday America.

Elevator User

Though rare to the Eau Claire area, this cell-toting type exploits the often socially-uncomfortable habitat of a packed elevator by carrying on a conversation, usually quite loudly, throughout the ride.

True, on occasion phone calls are received on elevators. But usually the Elevator User makes the call himself and it has to do with Jimmy’s soccer game, or something of equally low urgency that could wait until he were in far less company.

I Thought I Turned It Off User

This person’s phone will ring at the most inopportune place and at the more inopportune time.

Said subject can be found on golf courses, in movie theaters, in churches and, I suppose, in classrooms.

The ring is usually muted within seconds, after which the I Thought I Turned It Off User mutters “I thought I turned it off” under his breath.

I hope to never once be this guy.

Distracted Driver User

This is another type that you don’t see in Eau Claire very often.

The person, if male, is clad in a suit and driving an expensive import and rushing to an important meeting or power lunch.

If female, she will be driving an enormous SUV, probably toting the kids to soccer practice.

In both cases, Distracted Driver User is passionately discussing some sort of subject as he/she is weaving in and out of lanes at 70-plus mph.

You can imagine where the name comes from.

Sporting Event User

Sporting Event User is another example of an annoying cell phone user who might have a phone with for good reason, but will use it for anything but.

This subject can be found half-standing in his seat, one arm holding a cell phone to an ear, the other flailing wildly so that his Uncle Elroy (also a Sporting Event Guy) can locate him.

“I’m two rows up, three seats in, right off the third-baseline.”

Repeat Info User

This person is usually someone you know. He will finish a conversation, one that he speaks very loudly throughout, then relay information you just heard back to you again.

The phone conversation might end like this: “OK, Bill, we’ll see you at the bar at 8 o’clock.”

Then Repeat Info User rings in: “Hey, Bill will meet us at the bar at 8 p.m.”

Don’t try to explain to Repeat Info User that you already knew that, as you will be accused of eavesdropping.

Creative Ring User

My cell phone came with 36 options for ringing tones. Exactly 33 of these are annoying, irritating or just plain stupid.

Creative Ring User uses one of those 33 rings.