Last night, I spilled water all over all over a customer's iPhone. It was parked where people always park their phone- right next to their water glass. When I was filling the glass up, a fair amount leaped from it and covered his beloved device.
He was horrified. You'd think he was trying to resuscitate his soul mate. He kept looking at me with these accusatory eyes. What he wanted me to do- I'm not sure. But I'll tell you what I did do.
If only Siri could move on her own. Personally, I find her bitchy and annoying, but she's nothing if not smart. I'm sure her sense of self preservation would object to this scenario. Ask her, right now, Siri, is it safe to place you right next to a water source? What does she say?
The placement of the phone on the table is really annoying, but it is just a symptom of some larger issues that I would like to address.
First, when did we all become so important that we need to be reachable at all times?
Second, when did it become socially acceptable to act like every public place that happens to have tables and chairs is our personal office space? And,
Lastly, why is the pervasive use of cell phones making us abandon all of our social grace?
Basically, why is technology turning us all into a bunch of f@#king jerks?
First things first. When did we all become so important that we needed to be reachable at all times? The answer is, we didn't. We're not. We probably never will be. I mean, I'm sure there are some of us out there who are surgeons- but the majority of us are not. Having a phone in eye/ear shot at all times is a totally ridiculous behavior. And one that I am guilty of, too.
Ever since I had Lucien, I find myself having the same, unnecessary attachment to my phone. Of course, I blame it on having a child. To be fair, I blame everything on having a child- it's a luxury that comes with parenting. But, whatever, that is a whole other topic. Back to the phone, that I obviously need to have on me, because I am a parent now, right? What if something happens? I need to be reachable, don't I? Um, no, not really. Somehow our generation survived without having a Batline to our parents. And somehow I think my child would survive, too. I mean, I'm great and all, but in a real emergency- I'm pretty sure I'd rather you call 911. Actually, definitely. I am definitely sure I'd rather you call 911.
My point is, whatever excuse we think we have for having our phones accessible at all times- is false. It is debunked by the mere fact that our species is here, and it survived and thrived before phones existed and definitely before they became small enough to take with us wherever we went.
Second, when did it become socially acceptable to act like every public place that happens to have tables and chairs is our personal office space?
I've seen people get visibly annoyed when there is not an outlet next to their table at a coffee shop. Um, it's a coffee shop- not a recharging station. This is another form of entitled behavior that is born of advanced technology. I have never seen a writer that was using a notebook and a pen get mad at a waitress because he ran out of paper. And he definitely wouldn't expect a restaurant/coffee shop/whatever to stock extra notebooks just in case -in a writing frenzy- he came to his last page.
It's no one's responsibility to make sure that your laptop is charged, Okay? It's great that compact computer technology has taken many of us out of the confines of a cubicle, but we all must remember that Starbucks isn't, actually, our office.
Lastly, the most disturbing question of all. Why is the pervasive use of cell phones making us abandon all of our social grace?
It's rude to answer your phone during lunch.
It's rude to ignore a waiter when he comes to your table-or worse, attempt to mime your order- because you are on your phone.
It's rude to have an eye on your phone, when you are in the middle of a dinner date.
It's rude to keep your ringer on, when you are not at home.
It's rude to complete a transaction -while on your phone- at the grocery store, the pizza shop, the hot dog stand, etc.
It is rude not to give someone your undivided attention when you are interacting with them- no matter how unimportant you think they may be.
Can we all agree about these points, or am I totally off base? I think we all need to work on being less rude, when it comes to the use of our hand-held gadgets. I'm calling them gadgets now, because I really, really, really believe that they aren't totally necessary. I believe that we believe they are necessary- but come on, they just aren't. I could find my way to the Best Buy on 34th Street without google maps. I could. Yes, it would be harder, but I could do it. I could successfully meet my friends for dinner, without checking in- in 10 minute increments- every step of the way. And so could you.
Back to the guy whose phone I drowned, who got me thinking about this whole issue. I'm sorry, Okay? But just put her away for a few minutes, and you'll never have to worry about me endangering your soul mate again- I promise. And I think Siri agrees.