What’s both the easiest and most common way to spit in someone’s face (aside from actually spitting)? You could ask someone if they’ve put on weight. Sure, you’ll drive the female population into some form of eating disorder, but then again most guys will probably thank you for the compliment. You could try insulting their mother, but families are so dysfunctional today you’re either inviting an unintended therapy session or rousing a point of agreement.
Instead, you could opt for twenty first century spit. Likely you already do this. My family does this. My friends do this. I do this. If I knew a nun, she would do this. This new-age saliva that I refer to is our obsessive technological prioritization.
It’s amazing to me, how many times I’m with a friend or family member, and at the first glimpse of unoccupied conversation space, our cell phones becomes the center of attention. You’d think every e-mail, text message, facebook notification, or tweet was an emergency cry for help. Unless you hang out with a lot of firefighters, or Batman, this is probably not the case. Should I take their lack of attentiveness personally? There’s a couple of reasons why my answer to this question is no.
First, the vast majority of my outgoing text messages are responded to much quicker than necessary. I say this because I can’t think of the last time I texted something with any degree of importance. Last week, I asked a friend if we should start a movement toward making bacon and macaroni the new peanut butter and jelly. I would consider that to be one of the more important texts of the last 30 days. More often than not, I have a response to such text messages within 5-10 minutes. Simply inexcusable.
Second, I’m guilty of this same offense. And as a result of this post, I can no longer plead ignorance. However, in my defense, my sense of urgency to reply to every incoming electronic communication attempt is mostly a result of the culture that we all have built. Waiting for the appropriate period of down time an hour down the road could very well likely be interpreted as a slap in the face to the texter. Conversely, continually staying glued to your iPhone in the company of others is a slap in the face to those whose faces you can actually see. In other words, someone’s getting slapped. In the words of my favorite philosophers, TLC, “who’s it gunna be?”
Although the question posed was should I be offended. If the inquiry were, am I offended, the answer is very hypocritical yes. I know this is the equivalent of Sarah Palin telling people to be better parents. Although I’m frequently guilty of my own proposed allegation, I won’t fight to justify it. When someone’s only giving you half of their attention, it doesn’t equate to having 50% of the social value. I’d rather be reading in isolation than receiving a series of zombie-like, “uh-huhs”, “oh yeahs” and “I agrees”.
This brings me to my first new years resolution for the new year (because last year’s was such a success).
2010 New Years Resolution #1:
Spend more time with people, when with people.
This isn’t a declaration to be more social, only to give more undivided attention when in the company of others. Often times my cell phone is treated as if it were an external organ requiring constant maintenance. There’s a good chance that someone close to you fits this description, if it’s not you yourself.
There’s only one way this revolutionary resolution will grab hold, and that’s through communal effort. Michele Weiner-Davis, the highly renowned marriage therapist, and more importantly the womb who once housed The Good Badger, has a saying that, “it takes one to tango.” Well unfortunately the bond between two people pails in comparison to the bond between an individual and their Crackberry. This dance is more closely analogous to the prison version of Thriller. Without cooperation, we’re wasting time.
My proposal? The next time you’re with someone, and they start paying more attention to the 6 sq. inch screen in front of them than you, simply say, “can you at least brush your teeth if you’re going to spit in my face?”
[Liability Wavier: I bear no responsibility, in the instance of this line being delivered, if (when) someone actually spits in your face. It’s stupid enough that you probably had it coming, sorry]