Advice on manners and morals.
Dec. 24 1998 3:30 AM

(Continued from Page 2)

To respect your feelings, however, Prudie would not mind if, the next time you are asked the irritating query, you begin a recital of exactly how you are--no details spared. And do let us all know how many seconds elapse before your conversational companion makes a getaway.

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--Prudie, tellingly

Dear Prudence,

I have had it with people talking into their fists and mumbling up their sleeves. All these calls on the hoof can't be that important. Plus, they interrupt innocent bystanders. Is there an accepted etiquette for the mobile phone people and anything the rest of us can do about them?

--Anti-Cell Phone Annie

Dear Ant,

Alas, there is no etiquette, per se, regarding cell phones, though some high-end restaurants have tagged them verboten. Prudie is noticing that concert halls and theaters now have printed announcements requiring their restriction, as well. Little by little, various establishments are making house rules.

As for what the rest of us might do about them, Prudie is afraid the answer is: not much. A cross look of disapproval is always worth a try. The best hope of integrating this technological "advance" into society is to hope that those so important they cannot be out of telephonic touch will themselves arrive at some feeling of mobilesse oblige. Prudie is somewhat hopeful on this score, having recently seen some cell phonies remove themselves to the sidelines, as it were, at the ring of the bell. She has even seen an apologetic smile or two as these people get the call. We will hope for the best.

--Prudie, wishfully

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