Convenience shouldn’t trump common courtesy
Dear Mariann: Last month, I was attending Sunday morning church service. A man in the pew directly in front of me answered his ringing cell phone and rather than exiting the sanctuary to take the call, engaged in conversation right there in his seat during the midst of the sermon. Your thoughts, please.
Mariann’s Response: A few weeks ago I wrote about the boundary violations occurring with the onslaught of media and the now-concluded presidential campaign. The situation you mention takes boundary issues to an entirely new level of “what next?” Is nothing sacred from the infringement of electronics, including church, especially in the midst of the sermon? The only other situations that I can think would merit equal scorn, is taking both a call and conversing during a funeral or wedding. What has happened to common courtesy and decorum? It saddens me that technology has become more important than our personal interactions and being able to make eye contact, converse in complete sentences, and not cause mishaps from texting and driving or mere walking, due to paying more attention to our hand-held devices than our immediate surroundings and other people in our presence.
While I am on the subject, if you are an offender of technology intrusiveness, especially since Thanksgiving is approaching, please give courtesy to the busy bank teller or grocery store clerk trying to cash your check or ring your purchases. Both of these service industry employees are attempting to wait on us, the public, and are usually overworked and underpaid. Can we not end our cellular conversation long enough to give them five minutes or less of undivided attention? Please be considerate to them.
Also, the usage of cellular devices in other public places is perplexing. When I use the women’s bathroom now, it amazes me how many of my gender come in talking on their cellular, go into a stall while continuing their discussion, and then the conversation keeps going “while going.” Is multi-tasking now necessary in the bathroom too? Do I really want to hear flushing if I am the person on the other end of the phone?
And finally, it is surprising how many people work-out at a gym while simultaneously conversing on their cellular. I guess I am not so talented to manage both without dropping a weight on my foot or achieving only half of an upper-body work-out from holding the cellphone with one hand.
Possibly it is now impossible in our society to live without a constant “fix” of technology. A favorite TV news show of mine, NBC’s, “Rock Center” had an interesting segment on our personal addiction to high-tech devices a week ago this past Thursday. The DSMIV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual), the “Bible” of mental health diagnosis codes, is considering an addition to their all-inclusive text that would address “technology addiction” in the next edition. Between texting, email, Facebook, Linkedin, Tweeting, video games, and everything found on the Internet, I guess the inclusion of this classification would be of no great surprise.
Carol O’Brien, Delaware County’s Prosecuting Attorney is leading a campaign to end “distracted driving’ in our area, especially after several horrific accidents during the past year. The Ohio statewide mandate prohibiting texting while driving went into effect July 1, 2012. If caught, the first-time fine is $150 with a potential 60-day license suspension, which seems minimal, but with higher penalties if driver usage causes an accident. Prior to the state mandate, Delaware joined such municipalities as Bexley, Columbus, Hilliard, New Albany and Worthington in attempting to instill a few boundaries when using electronic communication devices. All I can say is, it’s about time.
Happy Thanksgiving and please be courteous to customer service employees trying to wait on us during this busy upcoming holiday season.
Mariann Main is a licensed counselor and a Delaware native. Her column appears weekly on Saturdays. To submit a question and have Mariann answer it anonymously, visit delgazette.com/life-questions-with-local-answers or send mail to the Delaware Gazette office, 40 N. Sandusky St., suite 203, Delaware, OH 43015.