Kenmare ND - Upside Down Under

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Upside Down Under

By Marvin Baker, a new weekly column in The Kenmare News


Is there no respect anymore?

Posted 2/17/15 (Tue)

Lack of cellular telephone etiquette is getting really ridiculous. It’s almost as if we are hiding behind our cell phones as if it is some kind of sanctuary.

If you are in a crowd sometime, just look around and note the number of people on their cell phones, texting, talking, playing games or even changing desktop photographs.

This could be at a basketball game, a mall, a concert, a political meeting or even a funeral; what is with these people? What could be so important? I’ve said this before, but are we being attacked by the Russians or something? Is it really that important that someone would have to disrupt a funeral to talk on their cell phone?

What I find disgusting is when people are in a public place, talking on their cell phone, everyone else around them is going to get the story too.

Recently, my wife and I were sitting in a Minot restaurant waiting for a meal and from the time we sat down until the guy next to us got his food, here is what I found out.

He’s from Rugby, he lives on a farm that has a road prone to snowdrifts. There was recently a death in the family, a baby, and he and his wife chipped in to help pay for funeral arrangements to the tune of $2,000. Someone else in his family is currently ill with abdominal pains and is taking medication. There are no more cattle on the farm as they’ve been sold because he is getting too old to be working cattle.

Do you see how ridiculous this is? I’ve never seen this guy as he was in a booth next to us, but this is how much I know about him just from overhearing his conversation... And I wasn’t trying to listen.

There was another conversation I heard while in a retail store in Jamestown. This young woman was a student at Jamestown College (now Jamestown University), she was getting ready to have a party in her apartment that was about two blocks away from the college. She was buying lots of paper towels because she told the person on the other end that she expected a lot of drinks to be spilled. She invited a lot of people she knows in Jamestown and in surrounding small communities. She is from Kensal and is studying elementary education. By the way, she got in a fight with her boyfriend and he left town and is presumably in Denver or Grand Junction.

Yes, this is what I heard while in an aisle looking for soap and toothpaste. Do you see how ridiculous this is?

I don’t want to know this information and I’m not trying to receive it. Imagine if I was trying to intercept information about these people. I probably wouldn’t have to work to hard to get it.

Keep the conversations private, or confidential, or, not at all in a public place. It’s your business not mine.

I remember getting chewed out one time while on active duty at Fort Meade, S.D. I was walking down a sidewalk and was told by a sergeant major that what I was doing was illegal and he didn’t want to see me do it again. I was talking on my cell phone while walking. He told me to sit on a bench and talk or put the cell phone away.

There isn’t a single military post I know of where it is legal to talk on the cell phone and/or drive.

Worse yet is texting!

This “social norm” is really getting out of control and is becoming a legitimate safety risk. There are so many people driving and texting they are jeopardizing themselves and others around them and don’t even realize it.

Numerous times I’ve seen vehicles driving erractically, taking up two lanes on the freeway or driving 35 miles per hour in a 70 mile-per-hour zone.

Every day military personnel leave their barracks, they are required to turn in a risk assessment of the day’s activities. Every thing from bright sunlight to enemy weapons are considered. Do your own risk assessment, consider every possible scenario and you’ll see how dangerous texting and driving really is to the public at large.

Don’t be putting the traveling public at risk just because, as a convenience, you can text your friends about anything and everything. It really isn’t that important unless it is literally a life or death situation.

The trend now is to not have a land line because it has become an unnecessary expense and the best way to communicate is by cellular, or “mobile,” as it is called in England.

Some of you may remember party lines in the 1960s. There was so much eavedropping going on, it made way for the private line. I think we need something like that again to curb this risky behavior.