Sunday, June 22, 2008

The ringing phone

It happened perfectly the other day. Just as I was beginning my library show, as my puppet Trixie was asking when the ice hockey game was going to start (she never can remember what we're doing), a cell phone rang in the audience.

Trixie immediately picked up her foot to answer.

"Hello? Hello? I'm at the library. Yup, we're supposed to turn them off. Okay, bye."

When I have Mavis the monkey on my hand, she's likely to answer her tail-a-phone. If the phone rings in the middle of a story, I either ignore it or find a way to work it into the story.

I don't mean to embarrass the person whose phone goes off, and I'll admit to having my own ring during a performance or two (and even in yoga class, blush), but I'd like the audience to realize that this is a live show and not TV. Also, just because it's a show for kids, it doesn't deserve less respect than an event for adults. It would be nice if parents realized that their behavior is a model for their children. At another show last week, a woman in the back of the very small room had a conversation on her phone. Fortunately, it was a short conversation.

It's interesting how tyrannized some people are by their phones. They don't realize that they do not have to answer it just because it's ringing. There's a mechanism called "voice mail" which will take a message. They might, gasp, be out of contact for 45 minutes!

Usually when I have company at my house, the live person gets precedence over a ringing phone, unless I'm expecting a call. Guests will say, "Don't you want to pick that up?" Quite often I don't. I do hope that whoever called will leave a clear message including phone number, because I don't have caller ID (a.k.a. spy phone).

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