The rambling thoughts of a Modern Orthodox Chassid (whatever that means). Contact me at emansouth @

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


This afternoon, my firm hosted a very interesting seminar attended by about 100 lawyers. Before introducing the speaker, I asked everyone to turn off their blackberries. (I think it is safe to say that it is likely that every single person in the room had a blackberry or similar device; how pathetic). I did that for a few reasons. First, even if people don't answer their emails, the buzzing of the berries is very annoying, second, the signals coming from incoming emails mess up the audio, and third, answering emails while someone is talking is terribly rude.

For the most part, people complied. The problem is that many came late (in and of itself a rude thing to do).

After more than 20 minutes, a woman entered and sat down near me. I was sitting in the front row, right in front of the speaker. She did not stop emailing for the duration of the two hour session.

I guess they didn't teach common courtesy in her law school.



  • At 7:41 AM, Blogger yitz said…

    Hey MO, I don't know what it's like in the Long Island-NYC area, but here in Israel the cellphones are used in epidemic proportions of rudeness! I mean, a doctor examining a patient needs to answer his/her cellphone? How many rings do you have at your minyanim, each one with a different ringtone, of course. And how many turn them off when they ring, as opposed to answering them -- sometimes not even going outside to do so? What percentage don't bring their cellphones to Shul, or turn them off when they come in? I think you get my drift...

  • At 10:56 AM, Blogger PsychoToddler said…

    Hurray for the information revolution! Even more new ways for people to be rude to each other.

    With regards to dr's answering cell phones while examining patients:

    On more than one occasion (per week) my cell phone goes off while I'm examining a patient.

    Statistically speaking, since I spend 8 hours a day face to face with patients in exam rooms or hospitals, if a cell phone goes off, it will be while I am with a patient.

    However, virtually 100% of the time it has been my mother.

    Everyone else uses my pager.

  • At 11:12 AM, Blogger SaraK said…

    One of my coworkers has his cell phone on vibrate but answers it and then runs out during meetings! I have no idea why his supervisor has not said something to him. I mean, I work in a laid back place, but I think that is so rude.

  • At 11:23 AM, Blogger uberimma said…

    Yes, what MOC saw was rude--no question. But you never know someone's situation and you never know why they might have to answer their phone. I leave mine on vibrate and if I saw it was my babysitter or kid's school calling, there's no question I'd walk out of a meeting. And my supervisor would know exactly what I was doing and would understand, because she also has kids.

  • At 12:23 PM, Blogger Just Passing Through said…

    How horrible. People are just absolutely rude these days!!
    Sent from my Blackberry Handheld (during a meeting)

  • At 4:21 PM, Blogger heimishinbrooklyn said…

    My husband always makes fun of people on their phone at simchas. It isn't rude; they just feel so important. Once the person hangs up my husband would put the phone to his ear and pretend to talk to someone and say "....OK, transfer the 1.5 to the second account. And tomorrow I'll deposit the 60 grand so we're all set afterwards.." It always gets a laugh from the others at the table.

  • At 2:43 PM, Blogger Bob Miller said…

    If the gadgets in any sizeable gathering could have their ringtones loaded and synchronized properly, you could create a beautiful symphony.

    In a weekday shul environment the electronics could then enhance the davening instead of sabotaging it.

    At a chasunah, wouldn't it be a blast for the bride to enter to a beautiful, massive cellphone serenade?


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