September 25, 2010

Just So You Know

I've decided that if I ever catch you texting someone while we're sitting together in real time and real space, communicating like human beings, I'm going to ignore you from that point on. Even if you're in my dining room I'll just not hear you from then on, or I'll go watch TV or go online and just leave you there until you figure out what your next move is; because I'm not going to bother you anymore. You can get your own beer or get in your car or just sit there waiting to see if anything is going to happen next because, I mean, since the rest of us are not really here anyway, it shouldn't bug you or anything if we just split, right? Because, I mean, you're busy and shit, right? You've got something to do. Our going to another room or getting in our cars and just leaving you there shouldn't really be a problem, right? You won't mind or anything.


I mean, okay, if you take your device to the bathroom or anywhere else, just OUT of the current social mix you are physically in, I don't have a problem - if you have the common decency to excuse yourself. In fact I would consider that POLITE and give you points. A lot of points. I'm talking about you're sitting right there in the middle of us and suddenly it doesn't even matter if someone is talking to you, your device has called and you must answer. Or, worse, you just remembered something you wanted to tell somebody six hundred miles away and even though someone is in the middle of a sentence and looking right at you, you just start thumbing away regardless.

I don't see that as unreasonable.

But I've also decided that if you think that is draconian or unreasonable or silly or petty or churlish or crabby or pissy or childish of me, well you and your mother can just suck my dick any time you guys are ready, okay?

And I don't care who you are, if you sign my check, or if you're a big deal on the internet.

I don't care if it's what everybody is doing or that's how it is or I'm supposed to get with it or I shouldn't take it personally or it's not that big a deal or whatever. Just know that when it happens, and every time it happens, I willfully and happily add a few more bricks to the wall that separates you and me.

Because it's rude.

Oh wait... that's a concept that doesn't apply to anything in 2010 America any more, is it?

Maybe a refresher is in order?

Rude: discourteous or impolite, esp. in a deliberate way: a rude reply, without culture, learning, or refinement; rough in manners or behavior; unmannerly; uncouth.

Or, to harp on something I've been thinking about a lot lately - having no class. It's like, not having enough of a connection to the people in your immediate presence to treat them with some modicum of regard.

It's basically saying "I'm hearing what you're saying but I actually don't give enough of a shit about you to listen /or/ I'm talking to you but I actually don't give enough of a shit if you understand what I'm saying."

Or, in terms you may find easier to understand... "brb: more important shit."

It isn't a matter of me being insecure, it's a matter of you being an asshole.

It isn't a matter of demanding you act a certain way, it's a matter of expecting you know how not to be an asshole in public.

And when you get this lesson down, fruit pie, we can start on Lesson 2: "Just because your cell phone rings doesn't mean you have to answer it like a freakin robot."

Just think of this as my version of a "slow driver/I'm PMS internet blog rant."

You will notice that when I am with you I probably have my phone in the car, or off or muted, and never answer, call, or text anyone. That's because I'm not as big a jerk as you are.

And since this can be addressed to 99% of the world who are now all sure I'm talking about them and suddenly can't figure out how they're supposed to act if they ever meet me and now may not ever want to because I'm such an unreasonable old crab... well it was nice knowing you too.

So there.


sybil law said...

I love you.

And I am not worried it's me, because I don't fucking do that - I get as irritated as you. The only call I'll answer is my kid - and even then, sometimes I'll wait until I can interrupt or whatever and walk away and call her back.

People can suck my dick, too.

flask said...

did i mention that i love you?

i love you.

i honkin' LOVE you.

SK Waller said...

Hell yeah.

sligo said...

I... aw, fuck it. you know.

niteowl said...

This post reeks of awesomeness.

B.E. Earl said...

And we should probably stay off your lawn, eh? Gotcha.

Tug said...

TOTALLY with you on this one! I've even made my daughter & nephews put their phones away when we're together.

*standing O*

Avitable said...

I'm sorry, but I multitask. Just like if you're at a sports bar and you're watching the game at the same time you're talking to someone, or you're people watching simultaneously, it's not rude.

It's me saying, "I'm listening and actively participating in this conversation while I participate in another conversation simultaneously because I'm just that fucking capable."

I actually have a whole post in my head that I'm going to write sometime about how one person is competing with the entire internet for attention, so it's always going to be a losing battle.

Tug said...

Adam, I disagree. Sports bars, bars, public, everyone is noticing what's around them (games on TV, people, etc.). It's part of the atmosphere. Texting when you're meeting with people to talk, have dinner (besides blogger meet up things)? In my mind, different.

I can multi task with the best of them and am totally capable of holding different conversations at the same time; I really don't care to compete with the internet for attention - whether texting or not. Just me. My opinion.

RW said...

Except, Adam, you aren't that fucking capable. You're just very self-absorbed. It's rude. End of story.

Avitable said...

And how is it self-absorbed to communicate with multiple people at the same time?

RW said...

You're denying you're self-absorbed?

Avitable said...

Oh hell no. I'm almost as self absorbed as you!

RW said...

Well alright then.

Everybody gets to decide what they like and don't like. You may think you're being "fucking capable", I just think you'd be being fucking rude.

I get to make that call about my environment just like you do. You don't like ugly people, I don't like rude ones.

So what's your problem?

Avitable said...

I think your definition of rude is based on the introduction of new technology that you don't like rather than actual etiquette. Like I said, texting someone else is just one way to split your attention, but that's what bothers you.

RW said...

"new technology you don't like". How lame is that? Where's my fucking cane, right? I'm talking about having some common regard for people you are with. That's hard to do when it's all about you.

Like I said, it's rude.

Avitable said...

Is it rude when you're with a group of people and the conversation shifts from one person to the next?

Isn't that the same thing?

RW said...

There's a difference. There's a group dynamic where the conversation shifts and then there's some nerdy twit thumbing away who doesn't even have the common courtesy to excuse himself, which would be all he has to do to be polite.

Maybe the people you're with actually like having you around. God knoweth why. And maybe it looks like you're not paying attention to what people are saying who are right there with you.

I recognize the concepts of courtesy and politeness in human interaction is foreign to a lot of folks. I'm saying it shouldn't be.

Personally? I wouldn't care if you had six devices you were on when in a social setting. So you doing that probably wouldn't bother me.

Avitable said...

The thing is, I'm very aware of proper etiquette, and I'm probably one of the more polite people of my generation. I also am a child of technology, and I know that in casual conversation, staying connected to my online community isn't a sign of my personal disregard for the conversation taking place.

RW said...

I think the start of being courteous to folks is having regard for what they may be perceiving. A person is saying, when they're trying to be decent to people, that it matters to them what others may perceive and think about what they're doing. The basis of being courteous isn't "well I can do this because I'm capable and you should just be able to know that." The basis is "I'm going to be sensitive to what this or that may look like to you." And I feel that, in a group setting, if you get - say - a phone call or have to make one, the natural inclination would be to take it out of the room; not only because you can hear better, but because to sit there blaring on your phone when others are around is kind of skanky. Same thing, to me, with texting and that kind of thing.

This isn't a generational thing, either. There are plenty of older folks who are just as rude to people around them. Technology has nothing - absolutely nothing - casual to do with this. This is a people thing, not a technology thing. It's how the tech is handled and dealt with and used.

The rules of common courtesy didn't change. But to the degree we make these exceptions "because oh well I can handle it" is the same degree to which we've perverted how courtesy gets done into something that simply folds in our selfish perceptions. In my opinion.

sybil law said...

Take that, Adam!
(I agree with RW. I missed all this before, somehow!)

sybil law said...

I was texting.