This is a rant.
I have several pet peeves, as I’m sure is pretty universal, even for peace-loving pseudo optimists. But there’s one in particular that’s really bugging me right now. I want to cry-scream from the rooftops (and maybe throw some shit), “For the love of all manners and human interaction, back away from your goddamn devices and take off your f*cking headphones!”
My friend Arielle expressed a sentiment in a Facebook post recently, and I think that’s what set me thinking about this enough to get my panties in a bunch. She wrote about how since becoming a mom she’s been less social, because finding time between work and loving up her baby-guy is difficult. When she is able to socialize, she has expectations of her companion. The main expectation, I quote: “I expect my companion to actually engage in conversation and not constantly be on their phone the whole time.” It seems a simple request. But it seems to be one that goes unheard to a frustrating degree. She posted this meme:
I know I’ve been disgusted watching people in restaurants, sitting with their families or friends, each person on their individual device – or even more than one device – and the only interactions between these families and friends is showing each other things on YouTube or Facebook, or reading each other the bad news of the day. I wonder if these people even know each other anymore? Can’t they remove themselves from their devices, their phones, their headphones for even a single hour to spend time with their loved ones?
We’ve had a problem here with this lately, and I’m literally buzzing with annoyance. I haven’t been able to communicate with anyone in this house for weeks, and the problem seems to be snowballing. The males in this house seems to have their headphones surgically implanted, and it makes me feel Very Alone. I’m weary of having one-sided conversations, speaking on and on, or reading someone an interesting passage from a book only to have them go, “Huh? Did you say something?” while pulling out one headphone. I suppose that perhaps I should look at them before I speak, and that might solve half the problem. But only half, because often I’m trying to speak to them from another room, and that should be easy in this very small abode. Sometimes I wrongly take it personally, depending upon my mood, as it feels like I’m being drowned out on purpose. It’s not personal, I know realistically, because by default they all do it to one another as well.
I’m considering wearing headphones myself to show them exactly how ridiculous they’ve been. I’m the mom, the one who’s supposed to listen to every malady, attend to all needs, but what if I’m unavailable because I can’t hear them over my podcasts and tunes? What if I’m unavailable because I have my headphones in, attached to nothing, and I’m simply ignoring them? How loudly should they shout before I give any indication that I’ve noticed? How many times should I let them call out for me from across the house, across the room, across the table to get my attention?
Vin overheard me dictating notes to my phone in prep for this post, and he tried to make an argument, a defense. He said, “Conversely, it’s a peeve when you’re wearing headphones and somebody talks to you and you don’t hear them. And they have to talk to you again, and you don’t hear them. And they have to repeat themselves, and you didn’t hear any of it, so you take one headphone out and ask them to repeat themselves.”
Me: So, basically you’re saying your peeve is when someone talks to you while you’re wearing your headphones, and you eventually feel obligated to take one headphone out, while continuing to listen to the other one, to hear what the person is saying to you?
Vin: No. I guess that didn’t come out right.
Me: I’m not understanding what the point was. Did you have one?
Vin: I give up.
I long to have normal conversations and interactions with people that actually mean something. When I say this to my guys they become angry or annoyed, defending their rude habits, their addictions, their electronic territory to the death.
I beg of everyone, please unplug when it really counts: With your spouse, with your kids, at your holiday gatherings, with your friends, IN THE CAR, in the bedroom, at your church, with your grandparents, at the restaurant, at the wedding, at the playground…