I was listening to a recent episode of 52 Pickup. Dave Caolo shared a story about witnessing a women in a grocery store hold up checkout line by diving into her gargantuan purse to find a ringing phone. As the cashier stood with change in hand and bags ready, she ignored him in favor of racing to answer the phone. As he and others looked on from behind her in line and as she tied up the cashier to get this possibly vital phone call.

He talked about how thoroughly we have all become trained to respond in a Pavlovian way to our ringing phones. Whenever there is a ring, bing, gong, tink or pop song blasting, the phone takes center stage.

In a recent story, an iPhone interrupted a symphony. This sparked a debate among tech bloggers about the function of the mute switch and how it should or should not be implemented to assure you don’t become a social pariah, but also don’t miss the vital family member in hospital call.

It got me to thinking how we have all been trained by our phones. We ignore people around us and the effect we’re having on those nearby when the phone starts ringing we dive into our pockets or hand bags to appease the noisy devil.

Is every call this important? Are you waiting on someone in the hospital undergoing surgery? The phone is not important. The ringing device doesn’t need to be answered this very instant. The caller will either leave you a voicemail if it is important. If not, they won’t and in most cases they won’t and it’s not important.

The phone has trained us to heed its call immediately. The phone is rarely important. If someone needs to reach you that badly, the news will still be just as valid and timely if you get it 30 seconds later

There is nothing so important the world must be put on hold because the phone is ringing.

It is most likely a robocall anyway. A machine is interrupting your day by phoning your machine which in turn alerts you. Skynet has won. You are a slave to your machines.