I know people who text all…the…time. While they are holding a conversation with someone. While they are eating dinner. While they are surfing on the computer (ok, I guess I get that one). While they’re in a movie. While they’re in the bathroom. Of course, while they’re driving.
WHAT is so all-fired important that they cannot put the phone down to give their undivided attention to the conversation (or event) happening around them? I’m sure they never stop to think about how the person that they’re ignoring feels. They could be pouring out their heart, talking about the frustrations of the day, telling a wicked joke heard at work, whatever, but there’s the texter, thumbs flying and uh-huhing away without a clue about what’s being said to their face. If the friend across town is that important, why not go to them? Why stand and pretend to be concerned about this friend, when obviously, that friend is more important?
I’ve seen this happen in business meetings, too. A person will be in a meeting with important issues being discussed, but he is checking the Blackberry every two minutes, obviously actively involved in a conversation with an unseen person. How can he get his business done that way? How can a client feel valued if his professional advisor is constantly checking the texts? Further, how can that client know, for sure, that his information is being kept private?
Apparently, I’m not the only person who is peeved about this. I was listening to a local talk program this afternoon (why, yes, I DO listen almost exclusively to talk radio. FM doesn’t work in my house. It’s possessed. The house, not FM radio), and the host, named Bob, was having lunch over the weekend with a friend. The two ordered their lunch, then waited for the food to arrive. While they were waiting, Bob repeatedly tried to engage his guest in conversation, but the guest only responded with one- and two-syllable answers. Why? The guest was texting the entire time. Bob continued to get angrier and angrier. Finally, he flagged down their waitress, paid the bill for the entire lunch (including tip), and asked the waitress to box his lunch up. When his guest realized what Bob was doing, he gave a “sorry”, and said that he’d quit texting. But by that time, Bob was too far gone to care. He took his lunch and exited, leaving the friend to text and eat alone. When this story was recounted on the radio, the callers to the program were unanimous. What Bob did was something that we all wish we had the guts to do! Not a single caller said that Bob owed his guest an apology, which is what Bob had asked of the audience… did we think that an apology was owed? Turns out it was, but from the guest.