Monday, October 3, 2011

On technology....

I love technology.  It allows us to surf our favorite porn sites, place or receive phones call in the middle of the 2 o'clock showing of the latest Hollywood blockbuster, get outdated directions to that restaurant that everyone is talking about, and do a thousand other thinks more quickly and more effectively than ever before.  Of course just like everything, there’s a group of people who have to ruin the joy of technology for everyone.  Bastards.

For several years I was irritated by Phone Guy or Phone Gal who sat next to me in waiting rooms and talked about such hard hitting topics as their doctor's plan for the treatment of their hemorrhoids.  I would think to myself that with 100 empty seats in said waiting room, some no closer than 15 feet from other people, why would Phone Guy chose to have his conversation while sitting right next to me.  I would ask myself why not wait until you leave to have that private, personal conversation about your anal affliction Phone Guy, because it really needs to be held in private.  Heck if nothing else use your inside voice so that I don’t have to hear every single syllable.  That isn’t a can and string in your hand, it’s a phone and you don’t have to yell.  We’ve all seen Phone Guy / Phone Girl because apparently there are far more of them than there are of us and they breed like rabbits.

Today Phone Guy or Phone Gal would not be caught dead with a phone up to their ear.  That, to them, would just be low rent.  Today these people have Bluetooth.  Now Phone Guy starts the hemorrhoid discussion and you actually respond because you think that they’re talking to you because you can’t see that crap hanging out of their ear.  So now you get the double embarrassment of saying something back and being looked at like you're weird in addition to hearing about their hemorrhoids.

It’s not just professionals who have Bluetooth headsets, everyone has them and it makes it increasingly difficult to tell the crazies from everyone else.  It’s becoming entirely too common to see people walking around the store apparently talking to themselves, to have people sitting beside you suddenly strike up a conversation with no one, I’m having to say “excuse me, but are you talking to me” entirely too much.  These aren’t doctors, nurses, police officers, or firemen who we all depend upon to be available 24/7, these are soccer moms and football dads, average Joe’s, and it irritates me to no end.

These Bluetooth headsets are great for when you’re in the car, it’s safer to use them, but I see people walking around all day with them in their ears.  Heck I was at a Chinese buffet and saw an elderly couple sitting across from each other and both of them had headsets in their ears.  I am not kidding about this.  How critical is the call that you might get that you feel the need to keep them in all day?  Do they wear them in the shower?  Are people waiting on your call to give the Space Shuttle clearance to land?  Are you just pretentious?  Is it some kind of status symbol?  Frankly, I’m befuddled.

My work requires that I be available 24/7 just in case there are business critical issues that arise that I need to address.  My wife and kids have cell phones because I like the comfort that comes with knowing that if they get in an accident help is just a phone call away.  But many people don’t understand that cell phones can actually receive and place calls.  Yes, that’s right; you can actually receive calls on cell phones too.  Seventy-five percent of the time that I call someone on their cell phone they don’t answer, but five seconds after hanging up I get a text asking me if I needed something.  First of all, I wouldn’t be calling you if I didn’t want or need to speak with you.  Secondly, if I wanted to convey my message to you via text I would have texted you in the first place. 

I’ve learned to embrace texting on a limited basis; it allows me to send someone a message that I would really rather not speak to anyway.  It removes all of the clutter from a voice conversation; I don’t have to hear about seeing Sally at Wal-Mart on Wednesday, or was it K-Mart, no it was Foodland and it was Thursday, not Wednesday.  However, I don’t want to have extended conversations via text, my fragile psyche just can’t handle it.  And keep in mind that grammar rules are not suspended just because you’re texting; if you want me to know what the heck you are saying then say what you mean.  IDK, LOL, LMAO are entirely overused and I refuse to participate in acronymic discussions, I don’t like to think when I speak, just ask my wife.  And don’t even try coz (because), u (you), wot (what) and the hundreds of other text friendly words with me, using them displays a certain degree of laziness.

I’ve learned that those who text frequently are really quite good at it.  I’ve seen my kid’s text while they aren’t even looking at their phones.  I’ve seen my wife navigate an obstacle course of hungry alligators, rabid chipmunks, razor wire and my in-law’s all while texting.  One evening my wife and I were watching the marching band practice and we received a text message from my son, who plays the tuba in the band.  When you can text while marching and playing the tuba you have reached the very pinnacle of texting success; you’re the Chuck Norris of texting.  If you can do this why is answering the phone so difficult?

Then of course you have those people who are on the other side of the spectrum, technology scares them and they freeze like deer in headlights when confronted with it.  My daughter wrote step-by-step instructions and taped them to the Blu-Ray player so that my wife would know how to change the TV from satellite to DVD and watch a movie.  When my brother uses my cell phone I have to dial for him and hang up afterward.  He hasn’t yet figured out that the “end call” button hangs up the phone.  When the power goes out in our neighborhood I get a call from my neighbors asking if I can fix their televisions for them again.  Their innocence is refreshing.

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