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Reach Out And Slug Someone

My girlfriend hates when I use my cell phone in public. Well, my attitude is, everyone does it. She keeps coming up with all these arbitrary rules, like not in a restaurant, but it's okay in the grocery store. Can you give us your definitive opinion on where it is and isn't okay to use a cell phone?

--Temporarily Disconnected

PEOPLE WHO bellow into cell phones in public places are practicing what I call "lunar landing behavior"; as in, unless you came in for a lunar landing, chances are you're on earth, where a lot of people are disturbed by your loud blathering. Barring cases of dire emergency, one shouldn't use a cell phone anywhere one wouldn't feel perfectly comfortable passing a big cloud of gas. In other words, acceptable cell phone zones include lonely restaurant parking lots and polar ice floes. Unfortunately, in those areas, no one will get to see you looking important. Then again, even the guy who snaked my toilet yesterday has a cell phone. Truly important people are inaccessible. They have offices and a battery of assistants who inform callers that they cannot be reached during this millennium.

Copyright ©2000, Amy Alkon, from her syndicated column, Ask The Advice Goddess, which appears in 60 papers across the U.S. and Canada. All rights reserved.