I’m self-appointing myself a C.O.P. (Cellphone Opposition Policewomen).  I don’t have a badge yet but this is the mental picture I have of myself.  I recently returned from a business trip where the business took five hours and the time spent in the airport, 14 hours.  There is nothing glamorous about business travel.  What awaits the weary business traveler is bad food, long lines, security checkpoints, erect nap times and personal space invasions.  I can muddle through all of these with a minimum amount of whining.  What I cannot seem to overcome however, is my hypersensitivity to cell phone usage in the airport.  This cannot be overstated.

I personally chose to carry a regular cell phone.  It is not a smartphone.  It does not take good pictures or have “Slim Shady” as a ring tone option.  As I see it, there are at least two upsides to this.

  1. Cheap
  2. I can’t check my email from it which means I can’t conduct business activities on it.

When I’m at the airport my time is spent reading or playing Sudoku.  As relaxing as that sounds, it is not.  My hypersensitivity alarm inevitably sounds due to the person who’s ego gratification has not been fulfilled.  They are the folks who MUST conduct all matters of business in as loud a voice as possible in the most communal space they can find.  You find yourself journeying with them and learning more than you care to know about this complete stranger.  Sometimes it actually makes me uncomfortable as though I’m an interloper.  Most of the time, I’m just annoyed.

The fact of the matter is I just don’t care.  I don’t care how many widgets your division sold in the second quarter.  I don’t care if your administrative assistant forgot to change the ink in the printer.  I don’t care if your five year old wore two different shoes to pre-school.

Cell phone faux pas’ abound in the airport.  As your newly appointed C.O.P. let me invite you to consider the following…PLEASE!

Use your texting feature

Keep it Brief / Keep it Quiet

If you must converse via cell phone, take your call to an area of the airport more discreet or to an area with other talkers.  Noisier areas of the airport such as restaurants or designated phone areas are good choices

Keep your language “clean”

Turn your ringer to vibrate mode

These modest tips won’t enhance your ego but they could save your life.  Why you ask?  The same business trip I took recently provided you with another visualization lesson.

After waiting through three flight delays, 8 hours of idleness in a vinyl chair and one flight cancellation, a man (I’m going to call him “Camels Backend”) approached the airport podium like a house-a fire.  He was absolutely incensed that he had to spend the night at the luxurious airport Holiday Inn.  As he was verbally assaulting the airline employee, a young man directly behind him conducted a phone conversation with his girlfriend.  He was telling her in 125 decibels (the noise equivalent of a pneumatic riveter at  4-foot distance) how much he was going to miss her that night.  He was REALLY going to miss her (he was quite graphic at this point). That broke the Camel’s Backend.  Camels Backend wheeled around and let loose on the despairing boy-man.  What nearly turned into a physical scuffle didn’t.  The boy-man had more sense than I gave him credit for.  He calmly ended the love fest conversation, apologized and left the immediate area.  He was much more mature than Camels Backend.  I wish I could take credit for saving his life.

The point here is that traveling can be stressful.  As I stated in a previous blog, we don’t know the individual human story.  Ordinary circumstances can be emphasized and blown out of proportion when stressed.  Kindness and respect for the next guy is all that is needed. A smile doesn’t hurt either.  Please save a life or at least contribute silence to the millions of us who have normal sized egos. Thank-you.