There are many young people who probably don't know what a phone booth is. I'll explain. It was a place occasionally used by reporter Clark Kent to change into Superman. But it was also an enclosure in which a coin operated public telephone was housed. These booths were never far apart in our major metro areas. They were ubiquitous before the diffusion of cell phone technology. You could step inside them, close the door, and much of the noise of the city was attenuated by the booth so that you could easily hear the person who you called. If other people were in a queue waiting us use the booth, your conversation was private, assuming you had closed the door and were not shouting into the mouthpiece. It was possible to have a private conversation even in a public space. Times have changed. Cell phones are ubiquitous and are seemingly in continuous use. This is no where more evident than on a college campus. Students cannot walk even the shortest distance without being connected to someone via cell phone. It is easy to hear what to my generation would be considered a "private" conversation, albeit only one side of the conversation. When people are on a cell phone, they are oblivious to everything around them. I was in Starbucks the other day having my skinny, vanilla latte and working on my laptop. The fellow next to me was on a long, involved call that was a complaint. Due to my proximity, I was sucked into his angst. After a while I could not concentrate on my work. After he finally hung up, I said, "If you wouldn't make business calls, it might be more pleasant to your neighbors." With a stunned look on his face, he replied, "This is a public place. I have been coming here for seven years and have never had a complaint."┬áHe did apologize. "I made a call this morning too, but I stepped outside," I said. I returned to my work. He took another couple of calls but kept them short and lowered his voice. I guess my point is that that cell phone technology has made priviate conversation now a constant component of environmental noise. Eventually, I went to the parking lot, put on my riding gear, and rode my motorcycle past the corner where he was sitting. He had the cell phone to his ear again. That may well be the only time in my life I wished I was riding a Harley. Maybe we should have a law that requires people to make cell phone calls in a phone booth. But that won't work--there aren't any phone booths.