It’s amazing how one email, text, or tweet makes you feel like you’re the shit. You have people who NEED you. Is it work, friends, a significant other? Is it time sensitive? Someone is waiting for your response. Trust the urgency. You’re important. What’s not important is the person sitting on the other side of the dinner table or partaking in any real life activity at hand. Fuck that guy. There is no way they’re going to give you the validity or self-fulfillment you feel from the constant chatter of your phone.
So often I’ve been at the receiving end of being ignored.
We’re at a high-end burger joint. I think she’s checking Instagram to see if anyone’s commented on an artistically angled snapshot of her food. Granted it’s a beautiful twelve-dollar hamburger, and someone should definitely document it in order to justify this kind of purchase on a budget like mine. But she chose the wrong filter, exercising green and red tones similar to bile and blood. It’s strange how watching someone do this for ten minutes doesn’t bother me as much as it would have five years ago. What used to be an offensive gesture has morphed into a social norm. I’ve calmed down a bit on the issue and conceded that it rarely has anything to do with me (what a terribly boring companion I make) and everything to do with a drug-level addiction my generation has to constant attention- the feeling of being important, having something better to do. This mass ADD forces me to be interesting at a rate far beyond my capability. Alas, someone pulls out a phone.
Occasionally, there will be the imminent threat of a boss, emailing about god knows what at 9 pm on a Saturday. Here I understand. It happens, especially since technology has made any employee accessible far beyond work hours. We’ve become slaves to our jobs and to our smartphones. A generous amount of anxiety comes from the attempt to not immediately answer what could potentially be an urgent message. I’ll even admit that when I leave my cell at home it feels like I’ve lost an appendage or my mind.
I miss conversations where I had the right to bore my counterpart, to have an interaction full of awkward pauses, and the pressure to keep a conversation going. Where are the days of eating in silence while staring at one another? I’m kidding… mostly. I’ll just always think of it as poor manners to be on your phone while out with someone, unless you specifically told them that you’re waiting for something important. And I never know if it’s bad manners to call the person, who is glued to their phone, out on it. I don’t think Facebook or Twitter justify you being an asshole. Call me old fashioned, but it’s true.