Scenario: You are in the middle of a decent conversation. The one that you got a chance for after a long wait. It was the conversation that you were waiting to have. You are about to deliver the punchline, when you hear it and the other person feels it. In his pant pocket or her purse. They pick it up to see, while you wait hoping, please let it be a text. Your chances dwindle as they think a second to pick it up or not, in other words, are you important enough to ignore the call or not. Then they swipe to answer it and you are left to politely walk away giving the person their privacy to take a call.
That is how most conversations go. Thanks to cell phones, it is easier to avoid conversations. The smart phones allow us to stare into a screen while riding an elevator avoiding eye contact or politeness with other riders. It gives us a chance to be pull our anti-social self out. We let everyone know their place and our own. In a public space, staring into the screen gives you a feeling of importance. In a conversation you let the other person know if they are important or not depending on your choice to answer or ignore the incoming call. If nothing else, you can pick up the phone, place it on your ear and act as if you are on a call to avoid someone.
Is this helping us? or not? I am not sure. Though I have done all of the above a gazillion times and I am sure I will continue to do over and over. Do I love it? Yes, when I do it and hate it when I got trumped by a phone. In spite of all the cribbing, this is here to stay, our future where we can have fun with our smart phone and people beyond the screen ignoring the ones standing right in front of us.