Hello? I’m Right Here…

Ring Ring Goes the Bell...

It happened again yesterday…and it reminded me about how much things have changed (uh oh…here it comes…) since I was younger (NO! he said it!)…

Before I tell you my story, let me ask you a question…Has this ever happened to you?

You’re in, say…the cable TV office, or the bank, or the dentist’s office. You’ve even made an appointment, and you’re standing at the counter talking with the clerk, and…the telephone rings…

(you know what’s coming, right?)

“Excuse me, I have to answer the phone.”

Wait a minute. Hello? I’m right here! Why is the person on the phone more important than I am? I made an appointment. I’m standing here. I’m a live person. I’m even trying to give you money. Why is my time less important than the time of the person on the phone.

OK…now, let’s switch this around. I’ve got a problem, and I’m calling the cable TV people, or the bank, or the dentist. I get voice mail, because “we’re currently on the other line or out of the office.” (OR HELPING LIVE CUSTOMERS?) I leave a message, and I don’t get a return phone call until tomorrow or the next day.

(Excuse me…I need to go check my voice mail…I’ll be right back…)

OK…I’m back…

We’re all guilty of the tyranny of the now, and the selective memory of the past. We’re so busy multi-tasking, that if we don’t deal with something this very minute, our follow up becomes spotty. Is it any wonder why the interruption has become more important than the conversation? Are we becoming a generation afflicted with electronic device ADD?

Why do I ask? You guessed it…I was having a nice conversation with two friends over a wonderful glass of wine (my home made 2007 Dry Creek zin, if you must know), and one of them had a phone ring. He was in the middle of a story. By the time he got off the phone, someone else had joined the table, and the story’s end was lost to the vagaries of conversational momentum. And it was an interesting story.

I’m beginning to think that when someone asks me “do you mind if I take this call?” (which is becoming less frequent, by the way…most people just answer the phone…with or without the apologetic “I’ve got to take this…it’s my…”), I’m just going to say no. I wonder if it will make any difference? It is sort of like the point a few years ago when smoking began to be unusual in a group setting rather than common. There came a point when the etiquette rules changed, and people no longer just lit up as a matter of course (or fact). I wonder if it will come to that with mobile phones?

One Reply to “Hello? I’m Right Here…”

  1. Enriquillo Amiama says:

    Hi Vern!
    I agree with you. We are losing the real human experience

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