The phone was a beautiful invention. Alexander Graham Bell connected the world. No longer did we need to rely on our dogs to come bolting up the driveway, warning us of impending doom, or a child stuck in a well. No longer did grandma have to stand outside and yell to the neighbors to send the kids home for dinner. No longer did we have to walk to the next town, or worse, write a letter, to transfer information to other people.
Yes, Bell brought us all closer together, built a monopoly, broke apart, and started picking up his own pieces.
But the telephone is not always a tool of connectedness. Sometimes, the phone can be a source of annoyance. And by sometimes, I mean when co-workers sit at their desk and make personal calls, and do not try to mask their voice so their neighbors can’t hear them, or even make an attempt at lowering their voice or limiting the duration of their call.
Calls that last from 3-5 minutes are generally acceptable. If they go on any longer, then it must be a serious situation. Their is a family crisis. The president is on the line. Your cat was mysteriously murdered. Your house was caught up in a twister and thrown over a rainbow and vanished into thin air. Things like that.
If your call exceeds 5 minutes and does not fall into one of these categories, then you need to check the corporate etiquette handbook. If you are on the phone being rude to someone because you didn’t like the way they painted your apartment, take it outside. If you are trying to get a kick-plate installed on the door of your apartment, and the call ventures into the 30 minute mark, you’ve got serious problems. If you’ve got issues with your mom and need to talk to your friends about it, maybe work hours aren’t the best time to handle the situation.
As a Christian, I am supposed to love my neighbors. And I really try to. But when my neighbor makes my ears bleed with a 45 minute call about nothing, then it makes it difficult to turn the other cheek. So, I pray that the corporate etiquette handbook finds its way into your cube. And then, maybe then, we can all have some peace, and you will know when to say thank you.