December 30, 2004

Yes to cellphones on airplanes.

Here's the usual collection of letters to the NYT carping about the proposal to allow the use of cellphones on airplanes. Typical:
Allowing cellphone use on airplanes is uncivilized. Why should any passenger be forced to endure the loud-voice chatter so typical of cellphone users? Passengers have a right to relax, read, work in silence or simply meditate.

Silence on airplanes? There is a constant loud roar of the engines! There is no silence to be enjoyed. In any case, you're in a big group of people. How can you imagine that you have a "right" to silence? Silence fans expect everyone else to shut up.

Yes, people on cellphones talk too loudly and say boring things like "I'm on an airplane right now," and hearing only one side of a conversation is especially irritating. But you have an easy solution: wear headphones and play music to mask the noise. It's not like the problem of smoking on planes. You can't bring your own air.

I really can't understand how people this sensitive can bear to travel at all. Let the people have their cellphones on the plane. People love to stay in touch with their friends and family, especially when they are traveling. Cellphones are a big part of life today, and we've got to learn to deal with it. If you want to meditate in silence, stay home. If you just want to avoid irritations and distractions and get some reading done while putting up with all the usual discomforts of traveling, get an iPod. And go to the iMusic store and do a search for albums with the words "Most Relaxing" in them.

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