Sunday, April 01, 2007

Ring Rage - A New Dilemma

This morning Weekend Edition Sunday on NPR ran a story from New York about Ring Rage and what the city council is proposing to combat the rising documented incidents of fights being sparked by annoying ring-tones on cell phones. And while astute listeners who were keen to the date (April 1) quickly recognized the story as the annual hoax (less astute listeners probably also missed the jab of the “sponsorship" by the Soylent Corporation – manufacturers of high protein food products in a variety of colors: “Soylent Green is People!”)

Despite the humor of the piece, it strikes at a deeper issue in society. As cell phones have become ubiquitous in our world – I’m one of those people who only has a cell phone and no home phone – issues of courtesy (especially the lack thereof) have become noted. It has become increasingly difficult to experience even the most solemn of public events without having it interrupted by a cell phone ring.

Is it really necessary to have a cell phone on at a funeral? Could you be receiving any worse news???

Do you have to answer the phone while trying to check-out at a store? Is your voice-mail that difficult to access? Is it that difficult to redial a number that just called you?

Vibrate people! Vibrate! In the correct pocket it is an unobtrusive ring and a cheap thrill.

Or just don’t answer! Since the person is calling you, the odds are that he/she knows your number. If it is important, they are likely to call back – or at the least leave a message.

I’m also not entirely opposed to the suggestion that there be only four approved ring-tones. While the “acceptable” ring-tones presented in the piece were among the most annoying tones (despite being vetted by audiologists as the most pleasant sounds to the ear) I’ve ever heard, it does makes sense. The purpose of the ring is to alert the phone’s owner that something is going on. Do I really want my favorite song played in the tonally limited way of a cell phone ring? I think I’ll stick to listening to my music on my iPod with quality stereo headphones. Just give me a good old ring or scale.

And don’t forget vibrate; make me happy! Make my phone buzz, ya’ll!
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