In the pantheon of great inventions, cell phones are an undeniably useful devices. They connect us to friends, family and random people all over the world via invisible radio waves that somehow don't kill us. Most of us can’t take the train without gazing at our phone to check the news, check on friends or just because it's has become second nature.
While I’m a big fan of having a a tiny supercomputer in my pocket, it's pretty clear that phone usage has gotten out of hand. Cell phones were banned at Dave Chappelle's shows at Thalia Hall this week, and rightly so. But there are a lot of other places that should have an outright ban on cell phones. Here are 10 of them.
Movie theaters: While this may disrupt the ultra-lucrative business of shaky cam pirated movies, phones are a nuisance to everyone else in a movie theater. One of the major inconveniences of going to the movies is when some ignoramus checks their phone and the bright blue glow illuminates the whole room like someone pulled out the Tesseract. Rather than dim the screen (which is a possibility since it’s 2015), they just merrily continue to artificially light the room. The theaters should have an electronic jammer that turns on every time the previews start to replace the poor teenager who nervously asks everyone to shut their phones off.
Concerts and shows: Long gone are the days when your uncles holding up their lighters while gracefully wagging their pony tails to the sweet sounds of rock and roll. Now the most popular concert souvenir is a selfie with a band in the background. Some concert goers have resorted to live streaming entire performances without ever actually looking at the people on stage, opting to view the show through a 3.5-inch screen.
Bathrooms: Yes, I said it. We’re all guilty of texting while pooping, and if you’re saying you haven’t you're definitely lying. It's not only disgusting because of the bacteria you may be transferring onto your phone, but people also tend to waste ridiculous amounts of time by texting on the toilet or laughing at fail videos on auto-play. Water closets were designed for people to get in and get out quickly. That’s why you don’t see a La-Z-Boy toilet in there. Now, if it had one of those, that would be a different story.
Every 4am bar: The things that occur at the wee hours of the night should never see the light of day. As the saying goes, “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” The same mantra should be applied to every 4am bar in town. Nobody needs to see the sloppy group photos where everyone looks like they're suffering from heat exhaustion. When it comes to Chicago's late night bars, just enjoy each other’s drunken company without trying to capture a regretful photograph.
CTA escalators: We live in a busy, constantly moving, city. It seems that the social norm is that the people who want to stand on the escalator will move to the right side and those who want to walk up the escalator (since they are stairs, after all) will navigate to the left. However, there are some cell phone users out there who have broken the norm and stand on the walker’s side. This causes a pileup of people breathing on each other’s necks, huffing and puffing like they’re trying to blow the three little pig’s house down.
Churches or places of worship: You shouldn’t be on your phone if you’re in a church, chapel, mosque or any place of worship. While I know this may stop a lot of people from taking the weekly selfie with their priest or live streaming the sermon for their friends who were too hungover to make it that Sunday, I think your respective deity would prefer your full attention. In fact, if you’re not there mentally or spiritually, you probably shouldn’t be there at all.
At the intersection of Clark and Belmont: If you’re on your phone at this Lakeview intersection, you’re most likely on your way to the Starbucks where you will stand in line on your phone, hold up everyone because you’re not paying attention to the barista ushering you over and then cause everyone waiting to hate you forever. Standing or walking in a busy intersection staring at your phone is a Gordon Ramsay Hell's Kitchen-esque recipe for disaster. You're going to get hit by a car, a bike or another idiot on their phone.
On an ice rink: When you're on an ice rink, you should be skating. Focus on trying to do a T-stop or not colliding into the wall rather than liking your friend Stacey’s status about how she’s taking a break from Facebook. Keeping your eyes up also lowers your chances of being run over by a Zamboni. Nobody wants to be flattened by a Zamboni. Trust me.
In the stairwell to crossover to the Kimball-bound train at Merchandise Mart: Anyone who uses their phone in this area isn't an actual human being. They’re goddamn monsters and they should be banned from all modes of transportation. They're the kind of people who slog up the stairs like they’re made out of mud, scrolling through an ex’s Facebook page with an expressionless stare.
The library: Libraries are houses of books, which are bundles of paper that have words on them. We’re supposed to go to the library to peacefully read or drink a quadruple-shot espresso while we spend the next 12 hours writing a 15-page term paper that’s due tomorrow. You don't talk on the phone to your friend who's going through another breakup. I know it seems unbelievable, but the other people at the library didn’t come to watch you film your Snapchat story.