>Turn it off!

>I was reading part of my book in progress, Childless by Marriage, at an open mic last night when a cell phone started ringing. Unfortunately, it was mine. I had forgotten to shut it off. I was right in the middle of a very serious chapter. “It will stop in four rings,” I said. And it did. But then it jingled to let me know I had a message. At least it was over. But no, the same person called again and left another message, right as the MC was telling me I had to wrap up. Arrgh. I finished my reading, and later people told me they found my writing very moving, but the experience was marred by that stupid phone.

Even worse, when I checked my messages, the first one was from a co-worker who said she forgot what she was calling about. The second time, she called to say it wasn’t important so she’d tell me tomorrow. After I put the phone on vibrate, I got another call. The Honda dealership wanted me to do a survey on my latest experience with the service department. Obviously, I could have waited for all of these calls.

These days, our phones have become part of our bodies, but let’s all try to silence those little noise-makers, whether we’re at a reading, a meeting, doing an interview, or just trying to think. Set up your voicemail and let your electronic secretary handle the calls until you’re ready for them. Or at least put it on vibrate so whole world doesn’t have to hear it.

Remember, the phone that rings at the most awkward moment might be yours.

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