I was in Lowe’s once, on a mission from my wife to get paint that she had previously chosen, I found myself waiting behind a man who was having paint mixed, so I went to check out the mailboxes. For whatever reason. It was in that section that I heard a man say, “Hey!” as if I was his long lost relative who he hadn’t seen in years. He wasn’t making eye contact, but I figured maybe he just had that affectation, so I said “Hi,” a little tentatively. Then I caught his eye and realized he wasn’t even talking to me.
He turned his head and I saw this Bluetooth thing in his other ear, the one that had been turned away from me. If I could have turned red right then I would have. I pivoted on my heel and left the area. I would have left the whole store if I didn’t still have to get the paint I had come in for in the first place.
I can’t stand those ear devices because that was neither the first time nor the last time that that’s happened to me, thinking I’m the object of a conversation that has absolutely nothing to do with me. Once I had a whole conversation with someone who wasn’t even talking to me. Indeed, the only reason it became a whole conversation is because they didn’t even know I was there. Ouch.
They’re the ones who should be embarrassed, too. I mean, it’s like anyone who talks on their cell phone in a public place. Anyone can hear their side of the conversation (and a lot of times lately even the other side of the conversation since so many people have their phone volume pumped all the way up). Yes, we ALL understand that your mother needs control top pantyhose, and yes, we ALL know now that your best friend has crabs, but why do we have to hear all about it while we’re shopping in Costco?
Or how about the people who you work with who are constantly playing these stupid videos so everyone in the break room can hear it, with the vulgar language and the questionable themes? “Hey, have you guys seen this?” Uh, how about no, and how about I still don’t want to see this. Or hear this. Or know that you watch and listen to this and see nothing wrong or embarrassing about it. I’m embarrassed FOR YOU. I wish that was good enough to stop you.
But people don’t get embarrassed anymore in our society. That’s what I’ve figured out. Maybe it’s because you can see anything (and I mean ANYTHING) on the internet, which means now on your phone too, so there is no longer a capacity for embarrassment, regardless of the situation. Yes, we know that everyone gets diarrhea, but do we need to know that you’re in the Denny’s bathroom right now… fighting the good fight? Do we need to see a picture of you smoking a bong in your underwear?
It starts with dudes wearing earpieces in Lowe’s but where does it end? Sadly, I see no end in sight. Which is really the worst thing about it. Sometimes information should just remain private. Where most of it belongs.