Views #1523 | Intermediate 5

Tech Manner Mode

Angela and Todd talk about how and when it is OK to use your phone in public.

Todd: So I'm here with Angela, and in a previous interview we were talking about kids and technology and devices, and how these days often people look at their device when they're with another person. How do you feel about that? If you're eating with somebody, you're at dinner, is it okay to check your phone?

Angela: We have a rule in our house, no phones at the table. Absolutely no phones.

Todd: Very nice.

Angela: Because you know, you see people, they meet in restaurants, they sit around a table, the food comes, but everybody's looking into their phone, and engaging with whatever they're doing on their phone, and not talking to the people who have met them. And I see people walking on the subway, the street, head in their phone. It's ...

Todd: It is crazy.

Angela: It's really sad.

Todd: And if you think about it, we used to have manners. Things you couldn't do. For example, no elbows on the table, no hats inside the house. I mean it sounds silly, but I remember those rules as a kid. The one that was really hard was the no elbows on the table. Yeah, so it's interesting that we don't have new rules, like we should reinvent them. You can't have your phone on during the plane when it takes off, so your rule is a good idea.

Angela: Yeah, no phones at the table.

Todd: So you're an English teacher, what do you think about phones in the classroom?

Angela: If they're on a break, I always call it their text break, because when I'm teaching English out here I find that people have got their phone to their hand, and maybe they're Googling a word or something, so it's not too much of a distraction. But when you stop them for a break, as soon as you say "let's have a break now," they're all after their phones, and they're sitting individually looking at their phones.

Todd: And it's silent, I know what you mean. I'll teach, and it used to be you would say "okay take a break," and it would be really loud, they would start talking with each other. And these days it's just silence, they just go and they do that motion of just flicking with their finger, as they're scrolling down. And I know I just sound like some old guy, "hey, get off my lawn!" And I have the same problem, I want to check my phone all the time, but I have to admit it's strange I think.

Angela: And now you needn't even check your phone, you just look at your Apple watch or your watch on your wrist, it's going to tell you if your phone needs your attention.

Todd: But it used to be where I would say things like, you know as a teacher you're teaching, you can see if the student's looking down at their phone, and I would say "hey, don't check your phone." But now these days kids actually call me on it, they're like, "Oh, I'm looking up a word," or "Oh, I'm checking something," and they literally are checking something. And the kids are good at using their phone as a learning tool -

Angela: Yes, I think that's fine.

Todd: So it is, it's a gray area these days. Yeah. So when you're with somebody you never pop out your phone?

Angela: I would admit that I will be guilty of checking my phone in my bag, but I would never get it out and go on Facebook or Instagram and start Instagramming, I would just look at it and put it away.

Todd: Yeah. There's other things I've done, I mean could be because I'm getting older, but for example I try not to listen to my iPod so much anymore, or my phone. Radio, music, whatever. I actually just try to listen. I notice that when I am always listening to everything I kind of tune the world out, and I might miss things.

Angela: You will miss things. You see people, I've been quite tempted some days to put my earphones in and walk to the BTS, but actually I think, no, you'd miss the traffic noise, you miss the tuk tuks, you miss a dimension of the world that's happening around you. And then you get on the BTS and everybody in the carriage is head down, same position, on their phones.

Todd: Yeah. And actually I don't do it just for that reason, because I noticed that I'm missing out. It's so tempting, but I might see something. Okay here's another thing, it's a little bit impolite: what about looking at other people's monitor over their shoulder? Because you just mentioned the BTS, one thing I have to admit is because I don't have my phone out, and I am looking around, I have a tendency to want to check and see what's on everybody's phone. And it's total intrusion, it's creepy in a way, but it's also because in Asia I'm a little bit taller than the average person, so I'm looking down and I can see everybody's monitor. Yeah. Do you ever find yourself doing that too?

Angela: I do. Yeah. But like you I think it's impolite.

Todd: Right, so you gotta pull away, I know, I shouldn't do it.

Angela: Do you know the worst thing with phones these days? The worst thing from my point of view is the amount of pictures that people take of themselves. Everywhere; on the BTS, on the subway, eating. I've been to S21 in Cambodia, where those poor people were slaughtered basically, and there are people in front of pictures of these people who were killed, and they're actually just taking selfies themselves. This world isn't about you. Sometimes just stop and look at this.

Todd: Yeah, the selfie thing I did a little bit. Sometimes I would do it almost like sending a postcard, you know what I mean? "Oh look, I'm here." But I have to admit, yeah, I don't really like doing it. Yeah.

Angela: And they're taking the shot again, the shot again. I use selfies in a group, because I think they're fun, it's actually quite fun to see one person in the front and the rest in the back. It usually means that I can get further back in the photograph, so that's always a good thing.

Todd: Yeah, that's true. But that's good, that you admit you do some selfies.

Angela: Yeah, yeah, yeah, with groups, and if I'm taking a group in the class I'll get one of them to take the photograph.

Todd: What about the ... mild pet peeve of mine, not a pet peeve but, people taking photos of their food. I don't know why it's a thing.

Angela: Why? Eat it!

Todd: Yeah, exactly. Enjoy it, enjoy the memory. Now it's interesting that you said that about Cambodia. A woman, a group of women once said something that was really just a spear in the heart, really made me think. I was in Cambodia, this was years ago, and I was at Angkor, but Baton, Bayon, I can't say it right, but whatever the beautiful face sculptures. And I'm like, "Oh, I gotta get a photo." And so there's a woman just sitting there, relaxed, she was maybe French or something? She was European. And she was like, "Oh, you want me to take your photo?" And I go "Yeah, yeah, yeah."

Todd: So then she takes it, she took my photo, this was before cellphone cameras. And then I'm like, okay I have to reciprocate. "Oh, would you like me to take a photo of you?" She's like, "No." I'm like, "You don't have a camera?" And she goes no, she just points at her head, she taps her head like this, and she goes, "It's all up here."

Todd: And I was like wow, she was really kind of politely saying ... and I've never forgotten how those things look, I've never forgotten her sitting on the rock when she said that, so wise advice I think.

Angela: Yeah I think so.

Todd: Now actually you are in photography. Do you think that actually taking so many ... I'm sorry, you have a photography business, do you think that actually taking so many photographs lessens the value of the art of photography and really appreciating a good picture?

Angela: Yes, I think it does. I think that a lot the apps and the things that you can use these days to improve photographs take away the real skill of the photographer. Using the light, using the lines, using what's in the photograph to make a really good shot. I think people miss that these days.

Todd: Yeah. That is true. And so, today, oh no using your phone.

Angela: Oh I did hear it go "bing bing."

Learn Vocabulary from the Lesson

takes off


When it takes off.

Here, to take off refers to when a plane starts its flight. Notice the following:

  1. Everyone must be seated when the plane takes off.
  2. The airplane takes off at 5 pm this evening.

take a break


Okay, take a break.

When we take a break, we stop from doing something for an amount of time. Notice the following:

  1. It is good to take a break after you have been working long hours to refresh yourself.
  2. She took a break for 15 minutes during her shift.

gray area


It's a gray area.

A grey area refers to when people have different opinions about something. It is not clear what is right or wrong. Notice the following:

  1. The best way to raise children is a gray area for many parents.
  2. Whether or not one diet is better than another is a gray area.

pop out


Never pop out your phone.

Here, to pop out something means to take out something for use. Notice the following:

  1. I will pop out my phone to take a selfie.
  2. It is not polite to pop out of the closet and scare someone.

tune the world out


I kind of tune the world out.

When you tune the world out, you do not pay attention to things happening around you. Notice the following:

  1. I tune the world out around me when I am listening to music.
  2. My kids are good at tuning the world out when I am telling them to do their chores.

pet peeve


Mild pet peeve of mine.

A pet peeve is something that is annoying to you. Notice the following:

  1. People chewing near my ears is a pet peeve of mine.
  2. When I am talking to someone and they are not looking at me, that is a pet peeve of mine.

Vocabulary Quiz

take off • take a break • pet peeve
tune • grey area • pop out
  1. Breaking the law is sometimes a .
  2. What is your biggest ?
  3. We should soon, so put your phone away.
  4. When I get bored, I just a book and read.
  5. I need to from social media.
  6. These days it is hard to just out the media.
Answer the following questions about the interview.

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