If the Bluetooth earpiece is not visible, I quickly reach the following conclusions:
- If someone is nearby, the person is speaking to that person.
- If nobody else is nearby, the person is schizophrenic or on drugs or both.
The reason I don’t assume the person is on the phone in either case is because:
In case #1, I can approach the two people for whatever reason, and they will suspend their conversation to acknowledge my presence. However, if I assume the person is speaking on the phone, I can’t approach and expect the same casual courtesy, since the person on the phone won’t know I’m there. It’s much more of an intrusion. So I can’t assume the person is speaking on the phone, or I can never approach anyone, ever.
In case #2, I could assume the person is on the phone, but if they are in fact schizophrenic or on drugs or both, they might kill me. Therefore, I choose to err on the side of caution.
The other possible scenario is that I can see the earpiece. If the person is driving a car, fine. I really don’t care, and I’m not one of those panicky Chicken Little people who want cell phone use in cars outlawed because speaking on a phone is too distracting. If that were true, then having a conversation with a passenger in your car would be illegal as well.
If that person is walking down the aisle at the supermarket, sitting in a bar or standing in a ticket line, I take offense. They’re not using the earpiece to keep their hands free. They’re using the earpiece to impress me. They’re assholes.
So I’ve come up with a new invention, called the Bluetooth Beanie. It has a light bulb on the top that illuminates when you’re using your Bluetooth earpiece, clearly informing others that you’re occupied on a phone call. People will leave you alone. Yes, you’ll look like an asshole, but you already are an asshole, so it won’t make any difference.
Shown below are two examples: One where a guy is talking, but it's not clear if he's talking to his buddy or on the phone. The other shows him wearing the Bluetooth Beanie, and it all becomes crystal clear.