Actually, we’re out of control. And if you’re paying attention, as in living life with your eyes wide open, you’ve noticed it too — and if you’re not guilty yourself, I’m guessing you’re as fed up as I am.
A few weeks ago I had a meeting. It was the first time we’d laid eyes on each other. They called me. I was with them for an hour. One of them texted the entire time I was there. His device never left his hands. He may have spoken once. Maybe. He made eye contact with me twice — when I arrived and again when I left. That was it.
It took all the discipline I could muster to stop myself from reaching across the table, grabbing the offending item, tossing it on to the floor and jumping all over it. Just before I sailed out of the room without a backward glance.
Of course I didn’t do it. That would have been rude. Just because he has no manners doesn’t mean I had to behave badly. Tempting as it was.
Then there are all those people who walk down the street texting. They’re the ones who walk right into you because they’re so intent on staring at those little screens, they’re not paying attention to anything — or anyone — else. Do they at least apologize? Surely you jest. For the most part they just keep on going. Occasionally they stop and glare at you, like it’s your fault.
I won’t go into all those imbeciles who text while they’re driving.
Been to a restaurant lately? Same thing. Nobody’s talking. Everyone’s checking and sending emails and texts. No conversation, no communication whatsoever.
Just try to get someone’s attention these days. No matter where you are. It’s impossible. They’re oblivious. In another world. So much so that if you get fed up calling their name, to no avail, and you decide to reach over and tap them on the arm they actually jump. Because you’ve startled them. They’re that engrossed.
And please, do not try to excuse yourself by telling me you’re waiting for an important call or message. It wasn’t that long ago we had no email or voice mail. What did we do then? This may shock some of you, but we waited. Yes, we had to wait until the person we wanted to hear from, or reach, was available. And equally shocking, we survived.
Nothing bad happened. On the contrary, we were successful. We got promoted. We got raises. Our marriages remained intact. Our friendships were maintained. Our families still loved us. It didn’t kill us. Nothing bad happened.
What has happened to us? This is a serious addiction we have. A serious problem. Not to mention how discourteous, unprofessional and disrespectful it is. I just cannot stand it. I’ve had it. Enough’s enough.
Stop behaving like assholes, will ‘ya?
Yes, I’m steamed about it. Pissed off. Frustrated beyond the beyond. It’s rude, for God sake. So …
The next time I am anywhere — in a meeting, at a conference, out with friends, at a restaurant, at an event, in a store, at someone’s home, having a coffee — whatever — and the individual I’m with behaves this way I am going to leave the room. No notice, no explanation, no apology. It matters not who you are. It won’t matter whether you’re an acquaintance, a friend, an associate, a colleague, a relative, a client or anyone else. I am just going to get up and walk out.
You know who you are. Consider yourselves warned.