This week, I’ve been listening to the book Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. She tells of getting her nails done one day and watching two other customers, who stayed on their cell phones the entire time, simply pointing at the polish they wanted, etc. Brown mentioned this to her own manicurist and said the woman looked down and said, “They don’t see us as people.”
Now, I think those women on their cell phones would have been horrified to know that was how they were perceived. I’m more likely to believe that they simply weren’t thinking, that cell phones have become such a part of our daily lives that we just don’t think of the people around us when we’re on them.
Here in the library, we’ve been on the receiving end of the unthinking cell-phone users. More than once, students have come to the circulation, phone to ear, asked a question, and then continued talking as we try to help them. And I have to admit, it does seem disrespectful.
Last week, I wrote about the person we’re with being the most important, and I would argue that, when there is no actual emergency, the live person in front of us is more important than the person on the phone.
So put down the phone and look at the person handing us the soda from the drive-through, handing us our change at the grocery store, or finding us a book in the library. Acknowledge them as people and say thanks.