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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Ed’s Many Hats – Epidemic Proportions


There’s an epidemic going on in Naperville that’s affecting most teens, adults and even lonely seniors.

Most of my friends, especially my special We Bad buddies, know what a jerk I can be when it comes to bad cell phone manners. I’ve actually gotten up and left many coffee clutches and luncheons because of their rudeness.

My feeling is that we chose to be together way before hand-held devices came along. Now they get in the way of our enjoying each other’s company.

For instance, why does anyone need to pull out a phone and prominently place it in front of all us even before we sit down? Second of all, why would any of us answer it in front of us? And why would someone carry on a separate phone conversation while we’re all trying to carry on the conversation that even he was participating in just a minute ago?

Unless I’m expecting a “do-or-die” call, I usually leave my phone in the car when headed to a social event. I never ever place my phone on the table! If I feel my phone vibrating in my pocket, I excuse myself and take the call in a private place; maybe the washroom. If I have to make a call, I excuse myself and go outside.

Also, I never grab my phone to show others anything. I don’t search online while others are talking. Furthermore, when friends answer their phones in my presence, I’m led to believe that they think the caller is more important than I am, and I’m insulted.

I must admit, though, I’m guilty of sneaking my phone out under the table once in a while to check the stock market. Sometimes I get caught and my buddies go wild with exciting criticism. I’m trying to break the habit by leaving my phone in the car 98% of the time. I really wish others would do the same.

I’m retired and don’t get many “important” calls. I realize some people are still working and the phone is important. But I still wonder why an 8AM call is more important than it would be at 9AM?

The epidemic also is affecting our young people. I came out of the Lantern recently after lunch from the side east door onto Washington Street. Six teens were standing there staring at their phones. Meanwhile, other individuals were walking by staring at their phones in hand and not worried they might bump into someone.

I shook my head and continued south across the bridge. On the bridge, leaning back on the rail was another group of eight teens staring at their phones.

I looked at them and said, “Why don’t you guys talk to each other?”

They grinned and I continued to my car. As I turned south on Main Street, I noticed another bunch of kids in a huddle along Walgreens’ wall all staring at their phones. While waiting for the light to change, I rolled my window down and yelled loudly, “Why don’t you people try talking to each other?”

I hesitate to say they flew a few birds at me.

Am I alone? Am I the only one spending time walking around downtown Naperville counting how many people I see on their phones at the “ready” position? Am I the only one saddened to see the majority on their devices?

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Ed Channell
Ed Channell
Ed Channell has served on many boards, foundations and fundraising campaigns during more than 50 years in Naperville—and he loves feedback. Give it to him at echannell1@gmail.com.