Governor Andrew Cuomo announced yesterday that by next week, New Yorkers will be able to use their cell phones in every subway station around the five boroughs (assuming you have AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile or Verizon Wireless). Not only will you have full Wi-Fi service so you can perfectly time your Seamless order to arrive at work just as you do—there will also be usable cell service. People will be able to talk on the phone...underground! Below the surface of the Earth!! (Give or take what your understanding of "surface" might be.) And on the eve of this momentous occasion, we come bearing an urgent message: don't do it.

As Uncle Ben was fond of saying, with great power comes great responsibility. Just because we now have the ability to call tech support to complain about accounting software or quickly yell at a friend about why the Giants are definitely going to beat the Packers, all while packed on a platform waiting for the F train to pull into the station, doesn't mean we need or should use it. As it is, our subway commutes are often fraught with rude behavior, annoying people, tension, and terrors beyond our comprehension. And now we want to add "people chattering inanely on cell phones" to the list?

For most straphangers, just getting from Point A to Point B without someone falling asleep on your shoulder or throwing spaghetti in your face is an achievement. And one of the simple pleasures of riding our underground mass transit system has been the ability to zone out for 20 or 30 minutes at a time, maybe catch up on some reading, rest our eyes for a second, or even take a moment to observe the people around us without distraction. It has become the only part of daily NYC existence that flourished outside the noisy grind and demands of everyday life.

Sure, there were plenty of people twiddling on their smartphones, especially once Wi-Fi service started to become more prevalent, but the subways still carried the aura of a service-free zone. You didn't have to text that person back until you got to your stop, because you were on the train. You didn't have to answer that work email just yet. You didn't have to like that one joke in that Twitter thread. It was a foul-smelling church with an absent god, and outside of emergencies, we were all the better to keep it that way. The weaker among us (like myself!), who knew how great the temptation to dawdle on the phone would be once service was available everywhere, very much desired this separation between church and state to continue.

But now that absent god has broken through the agnostic subway barrier. There is no hiding from this digital deity. Next week, you will be standing on a platform at 11 p.m. some night, waiting for some train that is definitely coming in the next 10 minutes (even if it didn't appear for the last 10 minutes), and you will see and hear it all around you. Sure, you could argue that Millennials are scared of talking on the phone or whatever and I'm blowing this out of proportion. And maybe I am, because this perhaps feels like a symbolic loss as much as an actual loss of any kind. Having the one last space in the city in which we could be (we had to be) untethered from our digital strings become yet another giant hotspot is, most of all, a bummer.

So we offer a simple proposal: treat trains and subway platforms as you would an elevator. They are both cramped public spaces you have to share with other human beings. Everyone is on their way somewhere else, and often in a rush to do so. Talking to someone who is physically there is one thing, but nobody wants to be forced to listen to your attempts to make plans with your friend next Saturday. As with most matters of subway etiquette, the best thing you can do is think outside of yourself for a moment.

(There are of course exceptions to this, most importantly: if you are in the midst of an emergency, or someone calls you because of an emergency, of course you should call whomever you need to and deal with whatever is happening. We're asking for a modicum of thoughtfulness about your fellow riders, not to remain silent in the midst of serious issues.)

Let's get ahead of this issue before it becomes an issue. Be aware of people around you. Feel free to take a breather from your smartphone and social media. Your digital god, or boss, or parent who calls you every day to make sure you're alive, will (probably) be waiting for you once you return to the surface level. If we could end the scourge of impromptu subway dance parties through will alone, we can resist this as well.