Everyone’s addiction to cell phones, iPods and computers had been my pet peeve on campus. I had ranted and raved for hours about friends who’d text message while talking to me, students playing on Facebook during class and classmates who failed to thank me for holding a door as they chat on cell phones.
But as I sat in class conversing with a classmate last Thursday, I realized I was not so different from those I had scolded. While speaking to a classmate, I impulsively reached into my bag, pulled out my cell phone and began text messaging with an old friend. As my finger hovered over the send button, it hit me. I have been throwing stones, while inside a glass house. I was that friend text messaging someone else mid-conversation. In that moment my pet peeve turned into the realization that technology has made us all, myself included, unconsciously rude.
Walking on Eastern Michigan’s campus it is nearly impossible to find students disconnected from technology. Everywhere you look they are talking, texting or tweeting from their cell phones. There are students with ear buds snug in their ears and an iPod concealed in a pocket, purse or backpack.
Collectively, we do not disconnect ourselves long enough to say, “thank you” or “you’re welcome” when a door is held open for us, “excuse me” when we bump into others in the hall, or “bless you” when someone sneezes. We have all become too technologically involved for the most common of courtesies.
Instead of talking to new people, we chose to text message our old friends, tweet our Facebook “friends” or search the web. We choose to encapsulate ourselves in the protective bubble of technology. And from within this bubble it is completely acceptable to be rude.
I can no longer maintain this pet peeve I have also fallen under. It would be much more fun to continue ranting and raving about my friends who never stop texting, my classmates who caused a ban on laptops or the “thank yous” never received. Instead, I will be too busy picking up the pieces of my own glass house.