Monday, June 23, 2008

I'm sorry, why did you come to this club again?

Have you seen that stupid cell phone commercial where some guy is sleeping, or at a diner, and even though he's otherwise occupied, his hand mechanically finds a nearby electronic device and starts typing at warp speed?

Unfortunately, sadly, this commercial isn't that far off the mark. People, just because we can be connected 24/7, doesn't mean we should be.

It's healthy to have some down time or quiet time. It's good--and polite -- to shut off the electronics, especially at certain times. It's good to be present.

Saturday night, I went to The Green Mill for an awesome jazz show by the Moutin Quartet. (highly recommended-they rock.)

The Green Mill gets mad props from the Etiquette Bitch. Upon paying your cover, Bouncer Big Al tells you, "Turn your phone off and keep your voice down." YES! (fist pump into air! Why don't all concert venues do this?)

If you do yak too loudly during a set, a manager will come over and ask you to be quiet.

Now, onto the guys who didn't understand the "turn off your phone" part: Just before the second set, three large men in Cubs jerseys, fresh from the Cubs-Sox game, sat behind me, ordering copious drinks. As the band played, two of the Cubs Fans would not stop texting. They had those phones -- iphones or whatever -- that are all bright screen, so the effect was that of having 20 fireflies behind me. Annoying? Distracting? Yes and yes.

When you go to a show, why did you go? To see the act, or to behave like a moron and text your friends? Hell, Cubs Fan could've saved himself $12 (plus drinks) by just staying outside, typing away in the evening air. If you want entertainment while texting, then plug in your earbuds, genius, and use the little TV or itunes feature, and stay out of a club.

Plus, putting technology away -- whether you're at a bar, restaurant, theater, concert, or even a diner with friends -- is the polite thing to do. Be present with the person(s) you are with. Enjoy your friends' company. Enjoy the music. Enjoy sitting at the bar, seeing a movie, or a play. Hell, enjoy sleeping.

But don't enjoy your cell phone every waking minute. Turn it off for an hour or two. I promise you, the world will continue to turn, and, chances are, you won't miss anything important.