Vanessa's CornerImagine you’re on a very long flight dying to catch some zzzs and the guy next to you is on his cell phone going on and on about something that doesn’t concern you. Nightmare? Unfortunately not.

Emirate airlines will be allowing in-flight cell phone usage as soon as January 2007 and many other airlines will follow. Can you picture it? I suggest you stop at the nearest pharmacy on the way to the airport and get yourself a good pair of earplugs ’cause you’ll need them soon.

A couple of weeks ago I was on a plane to Miami and this obnoxious guy sitting next to me (of course) was screaming on his cell phone long after the stewardess had asked everyone to turn their phones off. No matter how many times I turned to him with my “shut-up look” he just ignored me and carried on his mediocre conversation. Couldn’t he wait two hours until we landed to tell his wife whatever little story he was telling her? Nooooooo… And do you know why? Because people think that the fact they have a phone in their hands entitles them to act as if they’re in their living room, sitting on their couch and doing whatever they want to do. So I ask you… Since when has the public space become one’s property? And why do people insist on making their private lives everyones’ business?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for communication. But I believe that it should be something that everyone voluntarily agrees to be involved in. When someone talks on his/her cell phone in a public confined area and I’m obligated to listen to it it’s not fair to me. I have enough on my mind as it is and I don’t want or need to hear about the bald guy’s visit to his urologist or the blond cheerleader’s last conquest. Quiet please!

In my last flight back from San Francisco there was a guy sitting next to me that had a BlackBerry. I could hear the usual background noise of everybody getting comfortable in their seats but something was very different from that Miami flight. Instead of shouting about his life and business, my fellow traveler typed quietly an email to the only people this information was intended to reach. The BlackBerry did stay on until the last second before take-off but that didn’t bother me at all. I just looked at it and smiled :-)

## This Article Was Originally Published on on December 22nd, 2006.