RSS

Tag Archives: manners

@ Work :( TTYL

Have we all heard just about enough about the dangers, both physical and evolutionary, of texting?  Do we need another article haranguing against smart-phones on dinner tables?  Isn’t it crystal clear to us all that “living in the moment” is now only a behavior for which we pay thousands of dollars to experience in a spa? Technology has changed our orientation to the world around us.  But I don’t particularly care about all that right now.

What I do care about is personal phone calls at work.  (Quaint, isn’t it?  That sentence conjures up visions of Judy Holliday at the switchboard.)  For reasons which allude me, the technology of a “phone call” has obscured the intent of the call.  The fact that people needn’t speak to communicate, or use a telephone belonging to an employer, seems to have blurred the lines for many.  Show of hands, how many times has the clerk at your checkout register been tapping his/her acrylics onto a phone?  Have you ever entered a boutique and not heard the shopkeeper on a personal call?  The last time you frequented a restaurant with a host/hostess, were they looking down and squinting, behind their station in the dark?  There are work situations in which personal communication is not only permissible, it is probably encouraged.  I was recently on a film shoot at which the principals (waiting upwards to 15 minutes between takes) typed away, happily passing the time.  But those particular employees were not actually working while making their personal calls.  Their attention was not expected to be anywhere but on themselves.

Now here’s where the rant builds up steam.  I have lost count of how many of New York’s finest I have seen texting or making personal phone calls while working.  I suppose the traffic officer would argue; “Hey, I can give tickets and text at the same time.”  Perhaps, but you’re in uniform and; a) it is unseemly to be engaged in personal activity, and b) you are an officer, and if you’re not seeing something and saying something, why should I?  I have also seen “beat” officers, standing and texting on a corner, officers in squad cars (thankfully, the passengers not the drivers) texting as well.  Now unless that is how the police department now communicates with its officers (and for all I know, it is) I find this truly distressing.

I am not suggesting that we all don’t have personal emergencies that need attention.  But what I’ve witnessed is far more lackadaisical than an emergency would ever suggest.  Somehow, because we have the technology, we’ve decided that rules of the workplace and common decorum need no longer apply.  I’m no techie wonk, but I’m willing to posit, that we’re only going to get more little sexy toys with which to play.  Perhaps we should engage, now, in the real face to face conversations about what is appropriate and what is not.  Maybe I’m just an old fashioned gal, but I enjoy being looked in the eye, be it by a police officer or dinner companion (or one and the same, if it’s Tom Selleck in Blue Blood.)

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 21, 2011 in Cultural Critique

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Take A Good Look My Dear, The Old South Has Disappeared

Great Jehoshaphat, southern gentility is reported to be on the decline!  Perhaps you’re thinking that in these uncertain times, this news is hardly worth mention.  But if you believe, as I firmly do, that social graces are what separates us from the animals, you are nervous.

Gentility on a micro level makes our days less, something to endure and more, something to celebrate.  Having a door held open, versus slammed in one’s face, makes if not the entire day, at least a moment, less stress inducing and more gratitude inducing.  When a person moves out of the doorway (of an elevator, bus, train) they are communicating (for a split second) “I am cognizant of not living in solitary.”  It is our nature to want to be acknowledged, if even just physically.  No one wants to be ignored (as we learned from Fatal Attraction.)  At the root of boorish behavior is self absorption.  “The world exists to tend to my needs.”  It is not difficult to spot the trajectory of such a perspective.  If we scratch the surface of a political scandal or corporate malfeasance, wouldn’t we find this mindset?  I think we’d all agree that the root of any ponzi scheme is a desire to have the world attend to the orchestrator’s needs.  Most of us are not global economic leaders, but like recycling, don’t we want to do our small part?  Giving a pregnant woman your seat is the pebble in the lake of decency.

I am not entirely naive about the origins of southern gentility or how it can be quite manipulative.  It’s just that I’m okay with that.  Our culture is experiencing a political correctness frenzy.  We feel compelled to put preposterous positive spin on everything, no matter how misleading.  So why not employ that same smiley face/have a nice day rhetoric in being kind to strangers, or for that matter, friends?  I’m going out on a limb and suggesting that the old south is not familiar with the term “frenemies.”  Do you remember Melanie Wilkes referring to Scarlett as “spirited” bless her heart?  Scarlett had said unkind things about dear Melanie and was rabidly after Ms. Wilkes’ fiance.  What in the world would today’s Melanie post on Facebook?  I shudder to even consider.

Helping a tourist, complimenting a stranger’s scarf, holding an elevator door, making funny faces at a crying baby, demand a level of awareness.  It is hard to text, drive, drink from a sippy cup AND let someone merge into your lane.  It is equally difficult to talk on the phone, drink from a sippy cup, push a double-wide stroller, and notice the person in front of you has dropped a glove.  So if removing our plastic bubble as we go through our day is not realistic, how about doing so just when engaged in intentional social interaction?  Why don’t we start with remembering that social interactions, large and small, are not about the individual, they are about the group.  Throwing oneself a celebration (nuptial, birthday, etc.) means one is a host.  A good host makes his/her guests feel comfortable and welcomed.  A good (and even not so good) host does not invoice his or her guests and always expresses gratitude for their presence.  Like accessorizing, civility is what separates us from the animals.

 
 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,897 other followers