Silence Your Noise Makers

At today’s meeting, like at most meetings, the secretary/chairperson/whomever made the announcement for everyone to please silence their cell phones, she did so to her own phone as she was asking all of us to. This has become common place in meetings that I’ve been attending for quite a while now, however when I first came to meetings cell phones weren’t generally found outside of your car, where they were attached by a cord. (Yes, this means I am quite old.) It doesn’t really matter if the phone is silenced, I and others can still hear it when you have it on vibrate and then all the noise you make while you rummage through your purse or back pack trying to see who it is that contacted you. But, don’t worry, I’m sure the person talking wasn’t saying anything important enough for us to be able to hear them.

Old Princess Phones

This morning someone’s phone rang during the meeting, it was an actual phone ring tone like the old princess phones used to make before technology came and made those outdated. The woman rummaged through her purse for several minutes, giving us that delightful tone repeatedly 5 times before she got to it – unfortunately she didn’t silence it then and we were subjected to the voicemail notification sound, which was a high-pitched chirp. Experience, strength and hope? nah, thanks, I’m trying to answer the phone. It’s bound to happen, I myself have forgotten to turn off my phone on a few occasions and now double-check more frequently than I used to.

It’s usually not too bad when this happens, at the same time that this woman’s phone was going off music started to play outside the room, we could feel the deep bass reverberations and it grew increasingly louder – several people went out to see what was going on and the music stopped – for a while – it made an appearance again later.

What really gets my goat is the folks that are using their phones and gadgets in the room during the meeting. One guy in particular gets several messages on his cell phone during meetings and he just answers them and puts his phone back in its holster, did I mention it makes  a “beep” each time he gets a message, he has it turned down low, but all of us can still hear it. Thank you sir, but perhaps you should talk to your sponsor about the definition of sharing, this isn’t it.

messaging away

Two people at today’s meeting were busy reading emails and typing away on their iPhone, one of them had the “click” activated for each letter and we were able to hear that she can type quite fast when she’s using it, I’m sure her boss is happy about that. Thanks for sharing.

Is it really so much to ask that you pay attention during the meeting instead of using your phone? I called someone out of this a year or so ago, a chronic relapser that was busy typing away into his iPhone right next to me when I was trying to listen to the meeting. I told him after the meeting that he might have more success at staying sober if he put his phone down and listened to the message. He didn’t take it well and a few months later he went out to do some more experimentation.

Recently a conversation about younger people and their attachment to technology was had by Suzanne and myself, she’s a supervisor and during a recent training session mentioned that young people have a different work ethic than what was instilled in people my age or older. It’s not that they don’t work and get their job done, but they tend to do two things at once that us (and I’m not trying to group us all up into one category) older folks can’t really do as well. This is not an excuse for the sales clerk in Macy’s to be on their cell phone when I’m checking out or for the Burger King worker to be texting instead of helping the customers, but it should help me to come to terms with the changing face of how things work, sometimes even in AA meeting.

"Big Book" on my iPad

At a Big Book meeting in San Antonio last year I was getting annoyed at a man who was on his iPad during the meeting, it really started to get to me. Then when he shared his experience he started reading from it and I realized that he had the text on his iPad, I suppose this should have made me less annoyed but it didn’t, I had to come to appreciate it, it doesn’t help that technically speaking what’s on his iPad is not General Service Conference-Approved material. I have it on my iPad also, sometimes it’s nice to be able to look at the Book on the technology that’s available and I hope AA catches up soon.

Speaking of AA and technology, this afternoon I was able to make my AA birthday contribution via credit card on the web, I LOVE that. If it’s your AA birthday you should check it out at .

2 thoughts on “Silence Your Noise Makers

  1. I agree with you, Jamez. Why is it that some people think that they can not live for one hour without being connected to some kind of technoloy. But then it is true that I am now an old fart 🙂


  2. Jamez:
    I specifically go to a coffee shop that has a “no cellphone rule”. Those halfalogues are really annoying. And, I understand your feelings when someone has their cellphoen or iPad out. However, I am probably the best example of why someone would do so. I keep notes from every meeting. I use a netbook (if I have it with me) or my cellphone (which has word and a 3 page (max) memo program). I can then refer back to these notes (and edit them to insure that the points of discussion reach fruition.
    I will tell you that I was once accused of not paying attention at a meeting. When I showed my notes, they were stifled- but never apologized for thinking the worst of me. And, I never helped that entity again either. (Once my bill was sent, the notes were deleted.)
    So, don’t always assume that those of us with gadgets are not paying attention. This does NOT apply to cellphone use, however- there is no excuse for that…

    Thanks for telling me your side of the story- and letting me explain mine.


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