When was the last time you walked down the street or into a store and made eye contact with passersby? Bet you can’t remember. Who looks up anymore? More and more I see faces glued to their handheld device. No wonder pedestrian/vehicle accidents are on the rise – no body’s looking at where they’re going. When did we all become so important we have to be “available” 7/24? How riveting a conversationalist have we become that society can’t manage a moment without hearing our voice, our opinions? C’mon, nobody’s that interesting. Lose the ego already. And it’s not about necessity either. We don’t need to be available all the time. Nobody’s that important. So what is it?
When I was a kid all we needed was a dime; find a phone booth and make your call. If you couldn’t find a public phone, the call would wait, and amazingly society survived.
Recently, at the supermarket, I found myself behind a fellow who was balancing a cell phone in one ear and unloading his groceries with the other. He would periodically stop the unloading to gesture with his free arm in response to his conversation, which as you can imagine, caused further delays to the whole checkout process.
Scanning the lineups to see if there was another I could move to (there wasn’t) I noted a number of annoyed expressions glaring at this man who remained totally oblivious to the inconvenience he was causing. Finally, the last of his items had been scanned and the cashier patiently waited for a lull in his conversation to advise him of the amount owed. He put up a hand indicating he was in the middle of something, glanced at the cash register, and started fumbling for his wallet.
The cashier, a young girl, shrugged at the line up of waiting customers and rolled her eyes, helplessly. I don’t blame her; she’s a kid and doesn’t want confrontation. I do however, blame the boor, who’s now balancing the phone on his shoulder, because he needs both hands to get his credit card out. What are you, Prime Minister? You’re so important to so many, that a conversation with you can’t wait, right?
After processing the payment, he returns to the one arm reloading of bags into the cart while the other holds the phone, and finally he starts his way out of the store…..but wait, this gets better. Right in the middle of the exit, with automatic doors opened, he stops and raises his voice slightly in response to his ongoing conversation.
Given that this is the only exit, you can imagine the backlog of customers and carts this could cause, and it would have,,,,,, had it not been for the far sighted little old lady who, having just gathered momentum with her cart, rammed it right into his behind. Cell phone guy, hollered and glared at little old lady, who mumbled something about inconsiderate young people (he was 40 if a day, so you can imagine how old she was) and plowed right past him.
Cell phone guy moved aside to assess his wounds, as a parade of carts and smiling customers passed by, fighting the urge to stop and applaud. God, I love little old ladies!