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Saturday, July 11, 2015

Be Kind...Don't Dine and Snap

Those of you who have followed along with this blog over the last four years know that I have a rather unique relationship with technology. 

At times, I think it can be the greatest invention since sliced bread, while other times I think that it is the worst thing that has come into our lives other than deadly illnesses and global conflicts.

Gradually though, I have come out of my Amish-like shell of anti-technology and have evolved just as everybody else has.  I now am the proud owner of several electronic devices, and have become skilled in just about all of them.

Now, I would say that a huge part of that knowledge came from the year and a half that I spent working in the electronics department at my store.  Although there were times in which I found the department stressful and frustrating, I have to say that the whole experience was a positive one, as working in that area helped alleviate my fear of electronic gadgets (and probably drained my bank account in the process buying said electronic gadgets - thank goodness for employee discounts, right?)

Coincidentally, now that I am working in hardware, I've been trying to learn about how things work there as well...mainly because I have a place that needs a lot of TLC.  Not THAT TLC.  I mean tender loving care TLC.

Anyway, going back to electronics, I've become a lot more accustomed to learning how they work.  And I have to admit that years ago, the thought of getting a cell phone was absolutely ridiculous.  I didn't have that many contacts that would justify my getting one, and besides, I didn't think that I could afford it.  And yet, I purchased my very first contract phone in September 2014, and am very happy with it.

Truth be told, it was the cell phone bills (and my promptness in paying them) that helped establish the credit rating necessary to make the biggest decision of my life earlier this year.  So, I guess what I'm trying to say is that getting a mobile phone turned out to be a wise decision.

Not that I am one of those people who is absolutely glued to their phone at all hours of the day.  I'll use my phone for making phone calls, sending the odd text message (I admit that I hate texting for the sole reason that my fingers are too fat, and most of my text messages look like they should belong on a DamnYouAutoCorrect website), and possibly playing a round of Candy Crush Soda Saga.

(I seriously regret downloading that game now.)

However, I have mentioned in this space before that I am not a huge fan of people who have turned into mobile phone "zombies", so to speak.  These are the people who will mow down an entire store of people because their gaze is fixed on their phones.  These are the people who text each other even though they are in the same room.  These are the people who would probably continue texting while a major earthquake is happening.

These are also...very extreme examples of what I am talking about.

But I have to say that I do believe that while having mobile phone technology is handy and convenient for all of us, it can also make people unintentionally rude towards others.

I find it incredibly strange when I go out to eat in a restaurant and people a couple of booths over are pulling out their cell phones and spend ten minutes taking pictures of their food.  The only reason I can even justify this is if the person is a food critic and needs to add a photo to their article.  Instead, we have a bunch of people spending twenty minutes taking photos of their lasagna, posting the photos on Instagram, Snapchat, or Twitter, and then having the nerve to complain to their server that their food was too cold! 

(And yes, believe it or not, I did bear witness to this once.)

Remember the days in which we used to sit down at a meal and actually get to know each other?  I miss those days.  Could you imagine someone trying to take photos of their all-you-can-eat buffet in 1985?  They would likely be thrown out of the eatery for causing a distraction with the bright flash the camera would make! 

Okay, granted, cameras in 1985 were less primitive and about four times the size.  But still, I think that to have a good dining experience, you should leave the phones at home - or at the very least, have them turned off until after the meal.

And that's not a rule that is just meant for fine dining.  It's a rule that could apply to workplace lunchrooms or school cafeterias.  I can't begin to tell you just how frustrating and exasperating it is to have people sit down and join you at their table only for them to completely ignore you by whipping out their smartphones to text, text, text.  It's incredibly rude and ignorant, and consider this me calling all of you out on it.

Here's the thing.  If I'm by myself at a table, I have no problem using my phone or listening to my iPod, or what have you.  But if someone comes over to chat, I will turn off the phone or shut off the music because one, it's common courtesy, and two, I like having conversations with people. 

Just think of all of the fun things you would end up missing because you block out the world to send the world photos of your Baked Alaska.

Just saying.

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