#BeNiceWeek: Is Your Cell Phone a Menace to Society?

January 12, 2012 | By | Comments (4)

The last public place you want to hear your cell phone ringing is in a concert hall, where the finely tuned acoustics will amplify  your mistake.

But that’s exactly what happened at a New York Philharmonic concert a couple of nights ago, when a marimba ring tone suddenly began to compete with Mahler’s Ninth Symphony near the end of the performance. The cell phone rang so loudly and relentlessly that the conductor stopped the music.

When I read this story, my first reaction was to commiserate with the other, enraged concertgoers, who were shrieking, “Get out!” and “Kick him out!”

My second reaction was to wonder when we are going to stop behaving like a nation of 4-year-olds who’ve been given buzzy, light-up toys—and start treating our cell phones like the powerful, useful tools they are? A cell phone is, after all, a single device capable of replacing all kinds of formerly useful tools, including telephones and wristwatches and computers.

What’s the answer? In some places, there are new rules and laws to ban cell phone use:

– In St. Louis, for instance, a chain of nine theaters has started evicting movie goers who text during performances.

–The National Transportation Safety Board wants to ban all cell phone use – even hands free – by drivers.

But at one new concert hall, planners are taking the opposite tack. When the 2,000 seat Tateuchi Center in Bellevue, Wash. opens its doors in two years, it will have a tall antenna to improve cell phone signals and will encourage audience members to text or tweet to their hearts’ content.

When was the last time you heard a cell phone go off in public? (Was it yours?) What’s the solution?

(image via RealSimple.com)

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