It used to be that a cell phone ringing during a movie would result in someone scrambling to dig out the offending object and turn if off as fast as possible while shrinking in their seat in shame. Not any more, more often than not the reaction is not only answer the phone but have a conversation right there in the theater.
And, it doesn't stop there. Recently, I was attending a workshop and had the misfortune of sitting front of two women who carried on their own conversation off-and-on through the entire 45 minute panel discussion. To say that it was distracting (and irritating) is an understatement. Just as I was getting used to the intermittent whispering I started to hear a low-pitched, but completely understandable conversation on the other end of the row behind me. After a few seconds I realized I could only hear one side of the conversation. Confused, I glanced behind me to see a woman on her cell phone. Now, it's worth noting that this was not a large meeting, only about 60-70 people, so it's not like she was in an anonymous attendee in a sea of hundreds (not that would be okay, either, but...). I'm sorry, I was stunned. She made no effort to leave the room, just sat in the middle of the audience and carried on her conversation. (By the way, this was NOT a meeting of transplant surgeons.)
It's bad enough to deal with the constant whispered side conversations during luncheon presentations, but to talk on your phone during a workshop? I just don't get it.
Although on the subject of luncheon faux pas, nothing (I hope) will ever beat a fund raising lunch I attended, populated largely by the "ladies who lunch" crowd. The wine was flowing and the crowd kept up a restaurant level din throughout not one, but TWO speakers. I wanted to crawl under the table....or start throwing silverware at socialites. Fortunately, everyone did shut up when the keynote speaker was introduced.
So, what is going on here? Have we completely the concept of commont courtesy.