Hang-ups

I’m sitting in a public library right now while two people chat on their phones and the “security guard” is walking past them, holding her own phone skyward trying to get more bars.
My phone is sitting on the table next to me. The ringer is turned off, and I wouldn’t answer it if anyone called, but . . . here it is.
When did we all get so friggin’ important?
It’s a Saturday. We’re all in a library. Why do we need our phones? Ten years ago, I didn’t even have one. I’ll bet none of these folks did either.
If you wanted to talk to me ten years ago (six, actually), you left me a message on my machine that I would check when I got back home.
What if it’s an emergency? Well, let’s see . . . what kind of emergencies am I equipped to deal with today?
I’m not a surgeon. I don’t own a machine gun. My emergency hovercraft has a flat. And, if someone needs talked down off of a ledge, you’ve obviously dialed the wrong number.
I suppose that there are circumstances – movie-of-the-week type things -where being able to reach me are important.

“Brady! You’re dad’s been trampled by an elephant! He’s got minutes to live! Would you like to say anything to him before he moves on in to the next world?”
“Uh, yeah. Dad, why were you messing around with an elephant?”

But how often does that happen? And even with my phone right here next to me, I could miss the call because of bad signal or something. I’d still end up talking to my brother about it after the fact.

“Hey, man, sorry I missed the call. Did Dad go peacefully?”
“Sort of. He just kept saying, ‘They never forget. They never forget . . .'”

Cheezy punchlines aside, I don’t really have my phone with me because of some potential emergency. Certainly it is beneficial to have it in that case, but, come on. I have it for convenience – and maybe a little bit for how important it makes me feel.
I’ve noticed, though, how it’s made me a little considerate. Not as inconsiderate as these people chatting away in the library about their grocery lists and bar-hopping plans, respectively, and certainly not as inconsiderate as people who talk and text in theaters or while driving, but I will admit to having been out with someone and checking my phone to see if I’ve received any calls or texts.
What am I saying to them?
Hey, you’re an interesting conversation and all, but I’m just going to keep checking to see if there are any more interesting possibilities as well.
That’s not nice. I should know better.
I was raised according to some better guidelines:
Look people in the eye.
Give them your full attention.
Listen to what they’re saying.
Don’t throw popcorn balls at elephants. It annoys them.

Rules to live by.

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~ by badwolf1013 on April 16, 2011.

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