posted by Matt W on September 18th, 2013

I had to take CPR and First Aid training as part of the contract I’m on at work. I took the training last week. I sat between a 30-year-old woman and a 55-year-old man. When I walked in, the woman was reviewing her e-mails and texts and actively responding. The thought that went through my head was she’s not going to get anything out of this class as she will be attached to her phone all day. I was wrong and I would like to publicly apologize to this woman and all other texters that use their phones appropriately. I’m sorry.

It was the hipster wannabe old man that annoyingly texted all day.

The woman turned her phone off when the instructor walked to the front of the class to start. During breaks she would pull out her phone to check messages, and then silence it and put it back in her purse. She was very courteous to those around her while still being connected to her other outside-CPR-training world.

The CPR-class-wrecker guy was obnoxious.

First of all, he had 2 phones. Both were set on vibrate well more like ultra-vibrate: BZZZ, BZZZ, BZZZ, like the sound of a wasps nest, every 60 seconds. I was sitting next to him, so I had it the worst, but everyone could hear him, including the instructor. Wasp-man did his compressions to get checked off in the CPR section of the training, but didn’t pay attention to any of the rest of the training as he texted responses all day. I’m not saying what he was doing wasn’t important, but if it was that important don’t sign up for the training because it’s rude to the other people in the class. It seems like part of the population has redefined rude since cell phones have become popular. I am firmly on the side of the definition hasn’t changed and there are just a lot more rude people out there these days.

There have been many other instances that have also frustrated me. I went to a presentation at The University of Tennessee where virtually all of the students texted throughout (over 6000 freshman). My wife, who is a professor, says that this is the first year she has had to mention that texting isn’t an appropriate in-class behavior as her students have gotten far more brazen in their texting this year. And when on the phone with my son, I can always tell when his girlfriend texts him as there is a tell-tale 20 second pause followed by, “what did you just say?”

A few years ago, I was talking to my daughter’s volleyball coach who was finishing her Masters in Sociology. She said that the current generation was going to change the world because they had mastered so many different ways to communicate. While I tempered my reply with “I hope you’re correct,” I said her generation had mastered numerous ways to avoid real communication. When your texting someone 140 characters at a time, you’re not having a meaningful world changing conversation. You are also ignoring the person that is right next to you. They literally disappear from your life for those 30 seconds. We all need to be courteous when we text and most importantly remember to pay attention to the person we’re with.

By the way, the person who sat next to me was a salesperson who sold energy solutions. He might have been interested to know that I am responsible for the energy management of 40 buildings. I’m sure his boss would have liked him to pay attention to the person he was next to.


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