Monday, January 16, 2012 | Dan Beaulieu, D.B. Management Group
Editor's Note: To listen to Dan's weekly column, as you've always done in the past, click here. For the written transcript, keep reading...
What’s up with the phones? Have these things completely taken over our lives? Wherever you go people are fiddling with their phones. People are texting and reading e-mails or checking the weather or seeing how their team is doing--these phones have completely taken over our lives.
Remember when airports and waiting rooms were nice quiet places where you could read a book or a magazine, or have a nice quiet chat? Those were the good old days. Now these former sanctuaries of silence have been taken over by people loudly talking non-stop on their phones. And the conversations run from the banal like, "Well, I have a three-hour layover so I thought I'd talk to you. What are you doing?” to unbelievably personal, “So, when I caught him in bed with that tramp I said that’s it! I don’t care if we have six kids!” Don’t they realize that we can hear them? Hell, they can be heard three gates down!
Then there are the people who have to give whoever is on the other end of the line a play-by-play of what they’re doing: “I’m boarding now; I’m in my seat now. Hi, we’ve just landed, I’ll call you when I get to baggage claim, okay?” Why? Who cares?
I once saw a women walk into a restaurant at 4:00 a.m. in Greenville, Maine. She had one of those stupid Bluetooth ear things and was talking away on it--4:00 a.m. in Greenville, Maine, who was she talking to?
I was once on a plane across the aisle from a young woman who was frantically calling what seemed like hundreds of people to tell them she was going to be in the air for the next four hours. Seriously, one call after another as fast as she could dial saying, “Hi, it’s me. I’m on the plane and I’m going to be out of touch for the next four hours, I’ll call you when I land.” Really, one after another until the flight attendant had to practically pull the phone out of her hand! And I can tell you from the looks of her she wasn’t Hillary Clinton or Condoleezza Rice.
I look back on those quieter days as the good old days because now it’s worse by far. Now you can do everything on these phones--they are running our lives. People are not even bothering to shut them off any more. I was at a lecture recently and there were about 600 people in the audience. The lecturer was just about to make a vital point when a cell phone started playing a “We Are the Champions” ring tone. It was the lecturer’s phone and he stopped and looked to see who was calling! He was actually wondering if he should answer it! What the hell could have been more important in his life at that time than delivering his lecture in front of 600 people who had paid $75 to be there?