Friday, Sept. 8, 2006 | The short answer for Michael Cragin (“Rude Cell Phone Users”) is “no,” people do not know what they are doing. The majority (i.e., 50 percent plus) of the population are boors. They don’t know; they don’t care; and unless it has a direct impact upon them (especially financially); they are not in the least interested in knowing how to act in public and with regard to others.

They talk on their phones wherever they feel like it: during the national anthem, in crowded restaurants, in doctors’ waiting rooms while seated directly under signs asking that cell phones not be used. Men also leave their caps on during the national anthem, so of course eating in a restaurant while wearing a baseball cap is commonplace. I’m sure those who do it would be shocked to know that even 15 or 20 years ago this was considered as rude as picking your nose in a crowded restaurant. They do not know. They do not care. They don’t want to hear about it.

Do you know that I have complained more than once to the highest levels of leadership of the group sponsoring Sunday organ concerts in Balboa Park about men who do not take off their hats during the national anthem? “Can’t you make a simple announcement before playing the anthem: ‘Would gentlemen please remove their hats?’?” I have asked the head of said organization. The reply: “Oh no. We can’t tell people what to do. They’d sue us.” To which I replied, put it in the form of a question, then you are asking, not telling. The answer: “NO!”

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