I feel like I know you so well.
At my work, every time you step up to my register, I get a little slice of your life. Over the last week, I’ve been treated to your inane gossip, vulgar arguments and sickly-sweet romantic banter.
Of course, you weren’t talking to me; you were just on your cell phone.
Don’t get me wrong. I understand that a thirty-second transaction can be an eternity. After all, you have dozens of friends waiting to hear about how embarrassingly drunk you got at Lumpy’s last night and your BFF still hasn’t heard about the slutty dress you saw your brother’s roommate’s girlfriend wearing at the mall (the skank!).
I just can’t help but think that you might be able to resist the urge to broadcast your pathetically asinine conversation until a time when you aren’t standing three feet away from a total stranger.
Never mind that I’m trying to help you. A retail transaction typically requires two parties. I have a hard time figuring out whether you are gesturing for a plastic bag, our trash can or a pack of Camel Crush when I can’t get a word in edgewise. Besides, a bit of acknowledgement and a short exchange of pleasantries makes me feel less like a corporate servant and more like a human being. A small thing, I know, but it helps out a bit.
While I’m on the subject, Dick, I’ve been noticing you and your cell phone in other places around town as well. You’ve been showing up at restaurants, on the bus, in the school hallway and (my personal favorite) in the movie theater.
What I can’t figure out is when did this become OK? I know that cell phones haven’t been around for generations, but I seem to remember a more stringent etiquette for their use just a few years ago. Sure, you’d occasionally catch somebody texting during a movie, but that phenomenon seemed to be confined to a few of your fellow Dicks, and the surrounding audience members often had no problem with quietly confronting the offender. These days, it seems like a large number of theatergoers don’t even consider a hushed mid-movie conversation to be a problem.
It got to the point where I had to ask myself, “Is it just me?” Have I become old fashioned?”
Maybe this is the equivalent of an old person lecturing me on how rude my generation has become. I realize that as our phones have become smarter and we’ve become more connected, we’ve also become more dependent. This kind of technological advancement requires us to shift our expectations and constantly re-examine the rules.
After much inner debate, I’ve come up with an answer:
No, I’m not old fashioned. It’s possible to balance your electronic connectivity with the considerations of those around you.
You, Dick, are just being loud and inconsiderate. So please, STFU.