Monday, October 02, 2006

In convenience

Chris's wedding over the weekend was fantastic. A lot of fun and good times were had and a lot of ideas came into my head. The reception was long and eventful with a lot of food and dancing, but a very strange sight happened during one of my trips to the bathroom.

Being on a Saturday, there were plenty of college football games, along with crucial baseball games, played on this day. I heard about the Cardinals-Astros game, along with the Baylor and Texas A&M games, in various areas of the reception hall. Not being up or really into sports, I figured all this stuff was on par with people not really up on music listening to me talking about music. In other words, it's like hearing a discussion in a foreign language, but it's all in English. You know English is being spoken, but it's definitely not the kind of words that you're used to hearing.

That said, I stopped in my tracks when I saw a man dialing his cell phone while taking a leak at a urinal. What was the reason for him calling? To find out the score of the Baylor game. This sight alone got me to thinking about how the general convenience of modern technology has made us super-impatient beings. I'm talking about phone conversations about future phone conversations and meetings that are scheduled to happen in five minutes. We can't wait to hear about a final game score even though the score is the same ten seconds, ten minutes and ten hours after the game is finished. How pressing is it that we have to be up on these things?

I can understand the desire for constant updates if the situation involved a family member/friend being in a very serious medical situation (like being in critical condition following an accident, heart attack or stroke). No matter how important your alma matter's football team is, the game's score is far less important. Yet why do I see people act like a score is as important as the other pressing issue?

Maybe because I'm not an avid sports fan is why I don't understand this. Maybe because I treat my time in the bathroom as a peaceful and stress-free experience is another reason why. But I don't want to be behind with information pertaining to my interests either. What's the first thing I do when I get up? Turn on the computer and check my cell phone for messages. What do I do when my computer loads? I pull up Outlook Express and leave it up (it's set up to check for e-mail every minute). I definitely want to know what's going on up to the minute, but this is mostly done without talking to anyone or eating up cell phone minutes.

I'm around a computer with Internet access everyday, so whenever I have some free time, I'll frequently check sites like MySpace,, SiteMeter, the SOMB and Defamer as they are constantly updated. Am I on a quest for the latest breaking stuff? Not really, but there is desire to know about something the minute that it becomes available, within reason. When it comes to cell phone calls, if I can talk, then I'll pick up. When I say I can talk, I mean when I am not engaged or about to be engaged in a face-to-face conversation. Despite the fact that I can multi-task, I often choose to not take a phone call while I'm busy doing something else.

So that's where I stand on this. Is our culture that impatient that we blur the super-pressing in with the mildly-pressing? Do we have to take a break with our private time to know something like the score of a game? How important is all of this in our lives? For me, I can live with not checking my e-mail or cell phone messages for a few hours barring any wait for replies to urgent messages. And when I mean urgent, it's not involving my friend's thoughts on the new Channels record, American Hardcore or how his/her's dinner was.


Random Kath said...

Eric: I feel the same way you do, and we seem to be in the minority on that . . .

Both Mr. Random and I have cellphones, but we only use them for emergencies or if one of us is somewhere and we need a ride or something. People ask for our cell phone numbers and then act incredulous when we tell them that we hardly ever have them on, so it's best if they leave a message at our home voicemail (we do check it a few times a day.)

I'm guessing that people are so used to getting information whenever they want it, that there seems to be no filters anymore, no patience, no proportion. I may be exaggerating, but only slightly . . .

Jackye Chan said...

I've also heard a cell phone used in the restroom, at work. First of all, gross. Second, I don't want to hear what comes out of both ends. And thirdly, why am I counting?