New Era Etiquette - Manners needed for the 21st Century
Part I. Your Friend, The Chauffeur
If you are past high school, than you can remember life before cell phones, text messaging, MySpace, and FaceBook. Scary how fast its all changed, huh? I talk to kids today who look at me like I'm from the 18th Century when I tell them about the 'good ole' days' and I'm not that much older than them!
Don't get me wrong - I'm not one of those technology haters. I can't leave home without my cell either. It's just that I do think they have a time and a place. I guess this is what separates me from the younger pack. It's just that I simply cannot ignore what I witness going on all around me. What is going on today is a downfall in people's manners.
21st Century Etiquette
The Good Ole' Days
I remember being 14 years old, drooling over the day that I would get my license and drive my friends around, chatting, laughing and having a great time.
CUT TO: Years later driving my friends around...but the only chatting that seems to go on is with a indecipherable voice at the other end of my friend's cell phone. Sure, he or she may have a momentary lapse of reason and realize another friend, in the flesh, is sitting next to them and they'll get off the phone. Though that too is only momentary as the latest tune rings on their phone to let them know they just got a text. If I had to choose between the obnoxious laughter that ensues after reading their text message or just the one-sided conversation I am forced to overhear, I'd pick...pulling over and ordering them out of my car.
I would like to know when I signed up to be a chauffeur. Not only that, but I'd like to know who tricked me into signing up to be one for free. I used to have no problem getting up early on a Saturday morning to pick my friend up at the airport because that's what friends do. I suppose I also enjoyed hearing about their trip to wherever, telling them about my week, exchanging some lame gossip, generally just catching up and having their companionship throughout the traffic laden ride.
However, as more years have gone by, I have decided that it is worth the twenty or so bucks to call a Super Shuttle for myself. That way, less people will count on me to drive them to or from the airport - and most of them have taken the hint. While I was also sick of giving up my much needed Saturday morning late sleep, I was really starting to feel let down by my friends' lack of manners.
It is one thing to get into my car and quickly call a parent or your boyfriend/girlfriend to let them know you've arrived safely. But it is entirely another to proceed to call every other Tom, Dick, and Harry to tell them about the past weeks' events.
This has not just taken place among the kind of friends I'd expect this from (we all have a few of those). No, this utter lack of respect cell monster has grabbed hold of some of my most considerate, naturally well-mannered friends. That is what disturbs me the most - they don't see anything wrong with it. It is like they are possessed!
What is wrong with it a possessed soul may ask? Well, for starters - what makes you think I want to hear the same (and only one sided) conversation multiple times? Usually, whatever half, apparently hilarious story you were telling your friend until we went through a tunnel and you lost the connection (after screaming hello 4 times just to be sure)...you usually then feel that it would ironically be 'polite', if you turned to me and filled me in on the rest. FYI, it is usually only funny for those who were there. Then your friend calls back and we...yes 'we' have to go through it all over again - and from the start. I could go on, but you get the point...or should by now.
Secondly, whatever it is you need to relay to so and so is 99.9% of the time never so important that it simply could not wait until you got home (or wherever it is I couldn't wait to dump you off). What happened to a little patience? Whatever happened to just enjoying my company? After all, I am the one who you asked to schlep all the way to the airport to pick up your chatty butt.
Would it be such a stretch to say that I feel like I am being used? Of course, this was never your intention and you are apologetic. How-about instead of apologizing next time around...and instead of secretly thinking I'm too sensitive over your 4 minute cell phone call, remember that you made 5 of them - twice - for each time the call got dropped. See, technology is not all its cracked up to be...but it sure is putting a crack in folks' friendships.
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