Mobile etiquette is something I’ve been wanting to write about for a while. Since I’m the essentially negative bastard that you all know and don’t love (at all), I’ll be pointing out _what_ doesn’t count as good etiquette when it comes to using a cell phone. As with every other rant of mine, this article is the culmination of a bad experience as well, which I’ll merely narrate (what does not qualify as etiquette is rather self explanatory). So let’s go back in time to the afternoon of the 13th of May, 2009.
* The screen fades into a bubbly distortion… and reappears in black and white *
I’m on a Volvo bus en route to the Bangalore international airport and I have close to two hours to burn on the bus. I decided against reading Digital Fortress while on the bus, because the ride wasn’t as smooth as I expected. Ah well, I can always stare emptily at the ever busy Bangalore commuters can’t I? The bus comes to a stop at Shivaji Nagar bus station. A fat elderly man dressed in formals with a tie (the Bangalore based business man look, they’re all old and have bellies that would put sumo wrestlers to shame, trust me) boards the bus and sits right behind me. Ten minutes pass by, Murphy suddenly wakes up in the realm of ether, and decides that my life is way too smooth…
* The Nokia ring tone plays, the typical Bangalore based business man prefers this, I wonder why *
I slowly lay back on the comfortable seating, the silence of the air conditioning filling the space, when suddenly…
Fat-ass-business-man: “HELLO SIR!”….
(I nearly slam my face on the head rest of the seat in front of me…)
FABM: “YES SIR? I CAN’T HEAR YOU!”
(Me: How can you if you’re screaming so loud yourself?)
FABM: “YES, I’M ON MY WAY TO THE AIRPORT, BLAH BLAH BLAH….”
(Note: the BLAHs are in capitals as well, indicating the fact that he maintained the decibel level throughout the conversation. Finally…)
FABM: “AH YES SIR, GOODBYE…”
(I recline back into the comfort of my seat… peace has dawned upon my world again… when yet again…)
* The Nokia tune plays *
(Me: Holy fuck…)
FABM: “BLAH BLAH BLAH”
(Me: The deaf have all the fun…)
This ridiculous cycle goes on for around an hour because I think his battery ran out of charge after that. I was glad no one came up with solar powered cell phones or I’d have had to endure this ear drum drilling for another hour or so.
* Fast forward to an hour ahead *
The airport looks just as majestic as it was when I came here a little less than a year ago for my CA induction programme. I guess I reached a little too early (2.5 hours before departure time). I take a seat directly opposite to the Indigo Airlines boarding pass counter and immerse myself into Digital Fortress.
* An hour and forty five minutes later *
I’m at Gate number 8, done with all the formalities and wondering why the security official found my Sun Token Card suspicious (I wanted to tell him it was a calculator, but jail wasn’t on my ‘places-to-visit-before-I-die’ list). Anyways, I’m back to reading Digital Fortress (boring book actually, most things were rather obvious from the start). A few minutes later, a bunch of Kannada speaking people sit around me. Their hand baggage included gunny bags, cartons and sacks and it was at that precise moment that something dawned upon me all of a sudden. My face turned to an expression of horror as I remembered the common thread of unity that all passengers who travel with gunny bags, cartons and sacks share; Their over enthusiasm about traveling by flight :|. I turn to my right to find the guy sitting next to me punching numbers into his cell phone. He was so zealous about it, he mistyped the numbers the first time. And the second time, the call connected…
* Life’s a bitch… *
Kannada-speaking-over-enthusiastic-guy-traveling-with-gunny-bags-sacks-and-cartons-number-1: “<LOUD KANNADA>”
(The guy on my left to his friend on the phone, screaming into my left ear and his friend hearing it through my right)
KSOEGTWGBSACN 2: “<LOUDER KANNADA, AMPLIFIED BY THE POINT BLANK RANGE>”
The rest of the gang: “<COMMENTING ON THE CONVERSATION GOING OVER THE PHONE>”
(Me: How would you assholes like it if I castrated you all with a U-238 coated chainsaw?)
The torture goes on for the fifteen minutes that the prick spoke over the phone, and then this idiot screams the minute by minute details of the conversation into my right ear, while his friend receives the signals through my left. I started wondering whether I was dead and I was a ghost who they couldn’t see. This went on for another five minutes when I finally blew my top, but strangely enough, I was polite:
“Sir, would you like to sit here? I could go sit elsewhere?”
“YES YES, THANK YOU VERY MUCH!”
(Thanks for the parting present you bitch…)
And I literally fled for the vacant seat next to a man who was too engrossed with his laptop, diagonally across the waiting hall from where I was sitting. It took my ears around twenty minutes to stop ringing. With this, I shall summarise what mobile etiquette is all about:
1) If you’re travelling, shut the fuck up and stick to messaging.
2) If you still insist on speaking, shut the fuck up. If you can’t STFU while you’re around others, you might want to kill yourself before you breed. We don’t want another generation of your kind.
Because frankly speaking, no one really cares about that new deal that you struck, or whether your wife picked up the kids on her way back from the grocers or anything else for that matter. If you can’t talk in a low voice, the least you can do is to ask to be excused, walk away from the crowd and carry on with your conversation. Please people…behave!