Thursday, February 9, 2012

It's The Norm

It's strange when something suddenly becomes "the norm" and things that may have seemed strange 10 years ago are now...well... the way society works. My example today involves the topic of cell phones and just how obsessively attached we are to them and the people they connect us to. For instance, while I am at work I get a first look of people's cell habits during the dining process.

Habit #1 - Two people sitting at a table together, not talking to one another, but each texting other people and completely ignoring the present company. And I'm not talking a quick and simple message like, "Hey I'm out to lunch with Johnny here, so I'll talk to you later." I'm talking about sitting there in silence until the food comes, taking mouthfuls, putting down the fork and continuing the texting. If you want to talk to those other people so badly, I think you should have lunch with them. Just a thought.

Habit #2 - Answering the phone while dining. Unless you're waiting for a super important call that absolutely cannot wait, I think it's completely wrong to answer your phone while eating. Maybe it's just the way I was brought up, but we never answered the phone during meal-time, or we did answer and told the person that it was dinnertime and they'd hear back from the wanted person when the meal was over. If my cell goes off while out to dinner, I'll look at the number on the display, press "ignore" and make a mental note to call back later. I'm sure that person will completely understand why I did not answer the phone. Or are we so preoccupied with constantly being connected to everyone that the concept of not immediately answering leave us in anguish?

Habit #3 - Giving your server the "just a minute" finger when he/she approaches the table when you're texting. Really? Is me doing my job interrupting your social life? All I wanted to know is if you wanted more coffee...but if you can't stop your fingers and wait 10 seconds to hear me out then I guess the Prime Minister or whatever equally important person can't wait for you to hit that "send" button.

Habit #4 -  Not turning down your ringer in public. I REALLY don't care that you have the latest LMFAO or  Flo Rida song on your phone (I actually had to Google the top singers/songs in the country right now because I am so out of the loop). Turn down your phone so that everyone in the room isn't interrupted by you. Please?

Habit #5 - Placing your cell phone on the restaurant table in front of you during the entire meal and checking it every 5 minutes to see if you got a new message. I will walk up to table with 6 people and there will be 6 shiny phones on the table, just waiting to prove who is the most popular person there tonight. Who will get the most messages? I'm waiting on pins and needles to find out! Put the phone away. Talk to the people who you are meant to enjoying your time with and have some good ol fashioned face to face conversations about meaningful topics. I dare you!

Habit #6 - Standing at the front of the line to pay for your meal, then you whip out the phone to send a text. Three other couples are waiting to pay behind you but you decided in that second to fire off a message and make me stand there holding the debit machine that has your card inserted in it and waiting for your info to complete the transaction/payment. If you can't answer my coffee question and text at the same time, I highly doubt that you can use a debit machine simultaneously as well.

My one big issue with all of this is that millions and millions of people do these things every day and don't even bat an eyelash because it has become their norm. If you are reading this blog post and see nothing wrong with any of my listed habits, that means that you need to first read this or this article about cell phone etiquette and second, you need to disconnect. Turn off the phone and take a moment to enjoy the world in a way that you have forgotten even existed. Go for a walk; leave the phone at home. Take a yoga class, go window shopping  or go have a coffee with a friend (ask him/her to turn their phone off too). I understand that technology is changing every second of every day and that a lot of people salivate at the thought of getting the newest and hottest gadget on the market, but remember there is a world out there and people all around you that deserve courtesy and respect. Every once in a while, especially when out dining in your local food serving establishment, separate yourself from your phone and just enjoy the view.

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