It is rude to look at your phone while in con­ver­sa­tion

The Register Citizen (Torrington, CT) - - YOUR DAILY BREAK - An­nie Lane

Dear An­nie: Is there such a thing as mo­bile phone eti­quette? I know that I am a di­nosaur, but is it OK for some­one to be look­ing at his or her phone for the ma­jor­ity of the time he or she is in the com­pany of some­one so­cially? It feels so lone­some to me. All of my life’s con­di­tion­ing taught me to pay at­ten­tion to the one I’m with. Now I feel be­wil­dered. Be­wil­dered Dear Be­wil­dered: The gen­eral an­swer to your ques­tion is no, it is not OK for peo­ple to be on their phones while in your pres­ence. It is in­cred­i­bly rude. Bar­ring a few ex­cep­tions — doc­tors, nurses, new moms with baby sit­ters, and friends who tell you they are ex­pect­ing a very im­por­tant phone call and then apol­o­gize af­ter they take it — be­ing on or look­ing at one’s phone is way too com­mon these days and com­pletely in­ex­cus­able, and you are right to be of­fended.

Next time you are out with a friend who en­gages in that type of be­hav­ior, ask the same ques­tion you asked me. If your friend says you are be­ing a di­nosaur and this is the way of the world, then I sug­gest you find a new per­son to spend your qual­ity time with face-to-face.

Dear An­nie: “How to Give Your Cat a Pill” is a clas­sic, and cer­tainly, for any­one (in­clud­ing me!) who is a cat guardian, it is good for a laugh. That is, un­til the last line, which in­volves dump­ing the cat at an an­i­mal shel­ter.

Times have changed, for the bet­ter, and it is be­yond time to think about rewrit­ing that last line. As a vol­un­teer at an an­i­mal shel­ter for the past decade, I can think of many rea­sons that line made me very sad. Mil­lions of cats ARE dumped at an­i­mal shel­ters for triv­ial rea­sons or rea­sons that are ac­tu­ally med­i­cal prob­lems. Many of these cats are eu­th­a­nized be­cause their guardians did not take the time to un­der­stand the prob­lem and help them.

These days, more and more peo­ple con­sider an­i­mals to be mem­bers of the fam­ily. You don’t dump a mem­ber of your fam­ily at an an­i­mal shel­ter. In­stead, you take the time to fig­ure out what the prob­lem is and how to solve it. There are many or­ga­ni­za­tions, in ev­ery com­mu­nity, that are com­mit­ted to help­ing keep cats (and other com­pan­ion an­i­mals) in their homes, where they be­long.

Though I am sure that the clos­ing line was meant to be hu­mor­ous, be­ing dumped at an an­i­mal shel­ter is deadly se­ri­ous for mil­lions of cats ev­ery year.

I hope that you will con­sider re­tract­ing that line and ed­u­cat­ing your mil­lions of fol­low­ers about how to help, not hurt, home­less an­i­mals in their com­mu­ni­ties. An­i­mal Sup­porter Dear An­i­mal Sup­porter: An­i­mal home­less­ness is a se­ri­ous prob­lem. It’s a cause dear to my heart, one I’d never want to triv­i­al­ize. Per­haps you’re right that the last line of that poem could use a re­write.

Send your ques­tions to ask­the­do­c­tors@med­net.ucla. edu, or write: Ask the Doc­tors, c/o Me­dia Re­la­tions, UCLA Health, 924 West­wood Blvd., Suite 350, Los An­ge­les, CA, 90095..

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