Walking by our television the other day, of all the un-educational shows for my wife to watch, Old and the Rested was on. Old and the Rested is an unrealistic melodrama that’s been on the tube for ages.
On this particular episode, a gorgeous female accepted a dinner date with one very successful businessman. Forgetting the fellow’s real name, Mr. Cool seems appropriate enough to me.
For those out of the soap opera loop, Genoa City from “Old and the Rested” is a town known for attracting wealthy single entrepreneurs; male and female.
The woman was seated in a 5-star restaurant with Mr. Cool, when all of a sudden his smartphone rang. I’m sure he was staring at it beforehand but I missed that part. With a devilish grin, the less than charming individual politely said to his date,
“Excuse me, I have to take this call.”
He stood and quickly disappeared. Finding myself interested in this lady’s awkward situation, I whispered,
Of course the woman didn’t hear me.
Several scenes later Mr. Cool returned only to repeat the same scene,
“Excuse me, I have to take this call.”
I sensed by this time the gal was getting a bit perturbed by the scowl on her face. Once again I whispered but a little louder,
Why she didn’t get up and scoot is something only the Old and the Rested writers know for sure, and they aren’t saying.
At this point the poor woman weathered far more rudeness than I could ever take.
Minutes later Mr. Cool performed his offensive phone call escape for the third time,
“Excuse me, I have to take this call!”
The incensed gal finally had enough. She grabbed her purse and stormed out of the restaurant. Like a hockey player having just scored three goals, I pumped my right arm in jubilation.
I’ve never walked out on anyone but I’ve wanted to. There was an instance when I was talking to a friend at lunch. His cellphone rang while we chatted. I sat there for several minutes listening to him quiz the caller about a dishwasher. Finished with conversation my friend calmly asked,
“Where were we at?”
At that point I couldn’t remember. This wasn’t the first time he’d done such. Others complained as well. One person went so far as to tell him to shut the stinking thing off. If the fellow couldn’t be without his phone for thirty minutes, he had a serious problem.
The queen of etiquette, Emily Post, would’ve said his lunchtime manners were an act of extreme rudeness.
Years ago my mom’s cardinal rule during dinner was turn off the TV and no phone calls. She believed those distractions hindered family togetherness. I wholeheartedly agree. Unfortunately folks glued to IPhones, or talking on cellphones during meals is normal procedure these days.
People I know do it all the time, especially some family members. I suppose it’s no big deal to them. There’s nothing I can do to change things other than not join the fray.
Years ago I’d get upset if I was talking to someone, and midstream through our conversation the person said to me,
“Can you hold a minute?”
They’d immediately grab another line that was beeping. Sometimes that minute turned into five or even ten. It got to the point where I’d tell them to call me back. Often times that return call never came. They evidently forgot about me and moved on to more pressing issues.
There’s no better way of letting a friend or family member know they aren’t important, than by cutting them off mid-sentence and taking someone else’s call.
I don’t own a smartphone and never will. My flip phone serves me quite well. Out of respect to others, I turn it off in church and during hospital visits, plus at breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
If I’m standing in line at a bank or grocery store and it chimes I don’t answer. It would be impossible to count the number of obnoxious conversations I’ve had to listen to while standing in a line. No call is that important unless of course it comes from God.
These days I make it a point of gazing around a room seeing exactly who’s on electronic devices and who’s not. This can be most entertaining. It’s not unusual in a darkened restaurant, to spot a table full of people, each of them glued to their glowing television sets. To me a smartphone is nothing more than a small TV.
I’ve been told several times I should stop living in the past and get with the program.
“No thank you!”
Following the crowd and doing what they do isn’t my gig. Not that there’s anything wrong with such. Most folks seem to levitate that direction. There’s still a few of us odd ducks around; marching to the beat of a different drummer.
The other day I noticed this slick 1980’s Seiko wristband television for sale on eBay. I thought about that electronic jewel for most of the day. An idea eventually came to me:
Suppose I purchased one and then went to lunch with my friend; the same guy always taking phone calls.
I start using the television during our conversation before quickly saying,
“Excuse me, I have to watch “Old and the Rested.”
What’s the difference between me doing that and his phone rudeness?
“They’re one and the same!”