A few weeks ago I was at a Rolling Stones concert in San Francisco, and as I was looking down the rows I kept noticing small blue lights popping up. I didn’t think much of it until I noticed a man in front of me pulling out his camera phone and taking shots of the stage. This is what the crowd had been doing, taking low-grade pictures with their pin-sized cameras. Lighters have been replaced by phones.

Some Native American tribes believed that when you took a photo of someone it stole their soul; if Keith Richards was still alive to have a soul it would have been gone.

Yes, I am a hypocrite; I both own and use a cell phone. I don’t even have a home phone; I rely solely on my cell phone and it’s questionable reception, and I hate myself for it. I am a self-hating cell phone user.

Ten years ago, when cell phones were a bit scarcer, people couldn’t be contacted at any moment of the day (or night). For those who have forgot, in order to get ahold of someone you would call their house, they probably wouldn’t answer, and then you would leave a message.

Of course, the person was probably there and they probably heard your message, but they didn’t feel like responding right away so they would tell you the next time they saw you they hadn’t checked their messages. It was nice; you didn’t have to talk to everyone that called and you didn’t come off as rude.

Now when someone calls your cell, they know that you see they are calling. When you don’t answer, they know that you saw their name and choose not to talk to them.

Ouch.

Or even worse, you call someone, hear two rings and then it goes to their voicemail. You know your call was just declined (and you die a little inside), and maybe you don’t talk to that person again. That is how a cell phone ruins a friendship, but cell phones can ruin other things.

I can’t throw a party without the cops showing up because of cell phones. Let me layout the scenario. You’re at someone’s party and you call a friend to come over.

That friend calls two other friends, and they call two friends, and because everyone always has their phone, each of the friends gets the message. Within one hour I can’t get a beer and the term “house cup” has the same significance as “Republican ethics” because no one knows who’s house they are at.

Surfing, a culture that has no need for a cell phone, is being ruined too, and here’s how. Two friends cruise out early one morning to go find that perfect wave, and pay the $2,000 in gas to check the local spots. They find it, a perfect, peeling, glassy left. What do the surfers do? They call two friends, and their friends call two friends, and so on and so on. Before they know it the local wave looks like the 405 freeway at 5:20 p.m..

These things don’t have to keep happening. If we as a society decide to start practicing responsible cell phone use, the world would be a better place. If we all start thinking about the person throwing the party, or the surfer trying to get a peak to themself or the friend whose call you just declined, we can put a stop to cell phone-related problems.

I’m going to try, will you?

Joe Sargent is a journalism senior and a Mustang Daily columnist.

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