As you may have heard, over the last year or so, financial institutions have started to become more accepting of the iPhone, in some cases allowing employees the option to use one instead of the standard-issue Blackberry and in others, getting rid of the latter all together. For employers currently contemplating making the jump, however, a word to the wise: make sure your staff has gone through full iPhone-training before releasing them into the world, lest anyone suffer an unfortunate mishap that basically ruins their lives.
The unmistakably jarring sound of aniPhone marimba ring interrupted the soft and spiritual final measures of Mahler’s Symphony No. 9 at the New York Philharmonic on Tuesday night. The conductor, Alan Gilbert, did something almost unheard-of in a concert hall: He stopped the performance. But the ringing kept on going, prompting increasingly angry shouts in the audience directed at the malefactor. After words from Mr. Gilbert, and what seemed like weeks, the cellphone owner finally silenced his device. After the audience cheered, the concert resumed. Internet vitriol ensued. But no one, it seems, felt worse than the culprit, who agreed to an interview on Thursday on condition that he not be identified — for obvious reasons.
Maybe you think this sounds like really not a big deal at all? Maybe you think wrong, hombre. The “culprit,” described as “a business executive between 60 and 70 who runs two companies,” is still reeling from the incident and, from the sound of it, may actually require counseling to move forward.
“You can imagine how devastating it is to know you had a hand in that,” said the man… “It’s horrible, horrible.” The man said he had not slept in two days. The man, called Patron X by the Philharmonic, said he was a lifelong classical music lover and 20-year subscriber to the orchestra who was friendly with several of its members. He said he himself was often irked by coughs, badly timed applause — and cellphone rings. “Then God, there was I. Holy smokes,” he said. “It was just awful to have any role in something like that, that is so disturbing and disrespectful not only to the conductor but to all the musicians and not least to the audience, which was so into this concert,” he said by telephone.
And while some would suggest that it could have been worse– the conductor, for instance, could have taken a page from John Castle’s playbook and broken Patron X’s hand, ensuring he’d never touch that screen again, or just killed him right there before going on with the show, it almost sounds as though Mr. X would have preferred such a fate, rather than suffer the “shame” and hell he’s been through this week, which may follow him for the rest of his life. What’s worse, this all could have been avoided through proper education.
Patron X said he had no idea he was the culprit. He said his company replaced his BlackBerry with an iPhone the day before the concert. He said he made sure to turn it off before the concert, not realizing that the alarm clock had accidentally been set and would sound even if the phone was in silent mode. “I didn’t even know phones came with alarms,” the man said.
A cautionary tale to ignore at your own peril.
Ringing Finally Ended, but There’s No Button to Stop Shame [NYT]