Thou shalt learn these rules, or I shalt smash your mobile phone to pieces.
Switch off, and read on.
There comes a time in any technological revolution when some basic guidelines need to be laid down. It happened when email exploded on the scene and people started to learn some basic dos and don'ts around the new medium. For example, if you copy the boss in on an email message to a colleague, it means that you are through kidding around. No one teaches these things in company training; they are just things that get learned.
Well I've reached the point with mobile phones where I feel the need to lay down the law. There are some real abuses of wireless technology being perpetrated all around us, and the time has come to create some social order out of the mobile phone chaos. This is by no means an exhaustive list simply because as the technology evolves, new annoying traits will surely emerge. But commandments usually come in tens, so think of this as the first Ten Commandments of mobile phone etiquette, with amendments to follow:
1. Thou shalt not dial while driving In all seriousness, this madness has to stop. There are enough people in the world who have problems mastering vehicles and phones individually. Put them together, and we have a serious health hazard on our hands.
2. Thou shalt not wear thy earpiece when thou art not on thy phone You there, the one wearing the Bluetooth earpiece because you are just so important that at any given moment, a critical call could come through, and you need to be able to answer it while gesticulating wildly as if to say, "I am so important, I have a Bluetooth earpiece that I must wear at all times." Yeah, you. Knock that off, would ya?
3. Thou shalt not speak louder on thy cell phone than thou would on any other phone Yes, it's true that mobile phones don't relay what you say into the mouthpiece out through your earpiece the way regular phones do, but they still pick up and transmit your voice just fine. No need to shout. These things have incredibly sensitive microphones, and it's got to the point where I can tell if someone is calling me from a mobile because of the way they are talking, not how it sounds. If your signal cuts out, speaking louder won't help, unless the person is actually within earshot.
4. Thou shalt not grow too attached to thy mobile phone For obvious reasons, a dependency on constant communication is not healthy. At work, go nuts. At home, give it a rest.
5. Thou shalt not slam thy mobile phone down on a restaurant table just in case it rings This is not the Old West, and you are not a gunslinger sitting down to a game of poker in the saloon. Could you please be a little less conspicuous? If it rings, you'll hear it just as well if it's in your coat pocket or on your belt.
6. Thou shalt not make the mobile phone more important than the company thou art keeping If thou wantest to talk on thy mobile phone, thou don't need my company. This also means no phoneage when a waiter is taking your order, or when you're at the front of the checkout line.
7. Thou shalt not leave the mobile phone ringing just to show off the "cool" ringtones or refrain from answering for that same reason Not everyone wants to listen to a cellphone ringing for minutes, even if it sounds 'cool' to you.
8. 1. Thou shalt not subject defenceless others to phone conversations. When people cannot escape the banality of your conversation, such as on the bus, in a cab, on a grounded airplane, or at the dinner table, you should spare them. People around you should have the option of not listening. If they don't, you shouldn't be babbling.
9. Thou shalt not have a message intro lasting more than 15 seconds If I wanted to listen to 'We Are the Champions,' I would have listened to it before I called. I'm sure many of us remember Seinfeld's George Costanza's answering-machine greeting set to the theme song of The Greatest American Hero. It was a riot, but sorry, you are no George Costanza.
10. Thou shalt never answer your phone while you're in the toilet…