Stopping into a local doughnut shop the other day, I got in line behind a young woman talking on her cell phone.

As the line progressed, she continued talking. Eventually it was her turn at the counter. I got the cashier next to her.

I really wasn't listening to her conversation, but she kept talking while placing her order. Obviously I couldn't block everything out.

I'll make up her part of the conversation, but it went something like this:

Her: Sure I can bring the kids over.

Clerk: Can I help you?

Her: Would 4 o'clock be okay. I'm going to be busy until then. I might have to have my mom drop them off.

Clerk: Can I help you (she was very patient)?

Her: Of course I can. Hold on a minute. I'll have six doughnuts and an iced tea. Yes, I'll make sure I'm there.

Clerk: What kind of doughnuts?

Her: No need to bring pizza. Three chocolate covered and three Boston cremes. They'll eat before they come over.

How rude some people are!

Go to any baseball game, social event, even summer outdoor band concerts and you'll see people on their cell phones, completely oblivious to the people around them. They don't give a damn if you're watching the game or trying to listen to the concert.

Is this the society we've become? Have people totally quit caring about each other?

We see how volunteerism has decrease but we've been blaming that on such things as both adults in the house working and over regulation of some of the services seeking volunteers. But it could be just a "me" attitude that also has contributed to the decrease.

I've had pastors tell me about cell phones ringing during church services and the individuals answering the call, then carrying on a conversation as if to say, "I'm putting a contribution in your basket. You expect me to pay attention, too?"

Now the phones are equipped with the Internet, games, and apps. As a result, even those individuals in public places not talking on the phone are often busy playing games, checking their e mails, or chatting via the social networks.

Go grocery shopping and you'll see other shoppers can't leave home without their little phones.

At graduations, you'll always find someone with a phone that rings during the program.

Where are the manners? Isn't there cell phone etiquette?

Understandably cell phones are important. They help parents keep in touch with their children when away from home. They keep children safe if they're out alone. They can bring help to a broken down motorist. They can let you communicate when you're not near your home or office.

When you bother other people with your selfish cell phone habits, that isn't being very courteous.

It's also not good manners to put your phone call over your business with a store clerk.

Cell phones have become a big part of our lives. In some cases, it seems they actually dominate lives. People can't go more than a few minutes without taling on them.

There's really no reason to talk on your phone in church, at a concert, or at graduation. There definitely isn't a reason to keep talking when you should give the clerk your full cooperation when placing an order.

Obviously your priorities are wrong if you put cell phone conversation over doughnuts.

By RON GOWER

rgower@tnonline.com