Put Away The Damn Cellphone!


Not shown: angry classmate preparing for a good solid roundhouse.

Not shown: angry classmate preparing for a good solid roundhouse.

Call me old fashioned, but when I go to a class I still take notes by hand in a spiral notebook with a ball point pen. For one thing it helps me to remember things when I write them by hand and for another thing it is a lot easier to flip through a notebook than it is to find your place in a typed file.

A lot of people like to take notes on their laptops or tablets, and I can hardly fault them for that, except that I am discovering that when someone has a laptop in front of them they are just as likely to be surfing Facebook as they are to be taking notes.  There is a lot of toggling back and forth between note-taking documents and Facebook that I’ve observed from sitting in the back row of a few classes, anyway. While I understand the impulse I also find this incredibly disrespectful- both to me and to the professor. Personally, this is the biggest reason that I don’t like taking notes on a laptop: there is no way for the professor to know whether I am listening or not. (OK, it’s actually the second biggest reason after the fact that the laptop is too heavy for me to want to schlep around).

I didn’t realize how deeply this bothered me until I was sitting in class yesterday afternoon and I was sitting next to a gal who spent the entire class diddling around on her phone. She would hold the phone below the surface of the desk and was surfing Facebook, email, a website called “Doodle” and Twitter. This fooled no one, I’m sure.

I spent the entire class resisting the urge to punch her in the mouth.

It was a strong visceral urge. I wanted to rip that phone from her hands and throw it against the wall. I wanted to fix her with a disapproving glare and mouth the words “STOP THAT” during one of the occasions when everyone was turned our way listening to someone behind us who was speaking. I presume that she actually wanted to be in the class since the add/drop period is over now. I know I wanted to be in the class- that’s why I was paying a lot of money for those credit hours. It seemed like a good goddamn idea to listen to the professor. I felt like I was getting stupider just by sitting next to her.

So I guess the moral of the story is: Be Warned- playing around on your cell phone in an inappropriate place isn’t just passively rude but may actually be making the person sitting next to you fightin’ mad.

~ by Gwydhar Gebien on September 17, 2013.

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