Text messaging has really gotten completely out of hand. It is now quite commonplace to see people reading and responding to text messages in the most unusual circumstances and unacceptable manners. Rather than taking the time to talk with the people with whom they actually are physically, they continue to stay glued to their phones. The worst example of this happened recently when my wife, baby, and I were visiting Disneyland.

Elizabeth’s brother Brandon was with us and we decided to go to the fun ride The Haunted Mansion. On the ride, you enter a dark room and get a little fright, followed by a stroll around a cemetery and haunted mansion in a black slow moving buggy. The ride lasts about ten or fifteen minutes, give or take. It certainly is not an unreasonable amount of time to ask someone to put away their phone and focus on what they are doing at the time. This was not the case when we went to the attraction, however.

There were two young teenage girls, each with her own mobile phone, peering deeply into their phones and texting other people — possibly each other. It wouldn’t have surprised me too much had they been texting each other. They were sending text messages while we were in the waiting room at the start of the ride and even while they got onto the buggies.

The buggies started on their route and we noticed that the girls’ phones were still lit up with activity. At some point Brandon couldn’t take their indifference any longer and he cupped his hand over his mouth and, directing his voice toward the girls, said in a ghoulish voice, “Get off the phooooooone….” There was no reaction. He once again said “Get off the phooooooooone!” and the phones slammed shut and were put away. We did not see the phones out for the remainder of the ride and I am quite glad for it.

Sometimes it takes a good cold slap in the face to make you realize that you are behaving inappropriately in a situation. Sometimes, on the other hand, you need a little help from a ghostly voice to push people in the right direction.


  1. I love this tender story about manners in public, Gordon! One wonders how those kids were raised. How did texting become such an ubiquitous habit?

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