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Cell Phones

July 25, 1999

I didn't need to read much of the July 15 article on cell phones before wanting to respond. Every day I see some cell phone incident that makes me laugh out loud. Cell phones have only been a status symbol in the minds of people who have them. They are certainly not a "necessity," as the article states. Believe or not, there is an existing cell phone etiquette; it is called common sense.

Here is one simple example. If you had friends over for dinner and the phone rang, you wouldn't think of sitting at the dinner table with your guests while talking on the telephone. It is apparent that common sense flies out the window when someone is desperate for attention. To all those public cell phone users, we are not impressed and only have pity for your quest to raise your self-esteem.

KEVIN DUGGAN, Los Angeles

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Forgetting to turn off a cell phone at a movie or the theater is thoughtless, and answering the call there is unspeakably vile, just as it is rude to converse with another patron during a movie or play.

However, the complaints against using cell phones in restaurants are absurd. I don't currently own a cell phone, but I have owned them in the past and will again in the future. I've never been bothered, ever, by another restaurant customer's telephone conversation, for the same reason that I'm not generally bothered by two customers in the next booth conversing.

The real reasons for the complaints about restaurant cell phone use are simply a mixture of technological phobia and class envy. This tempest-in-a-teapot didn't merit front-page coverage.

TOM CHAPPELL, Sunland

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