I've been wanting to write this blog post for quite some time, but reading this on TechCrunch suggesting that we should all get used to people being rude was the straw that broke the camels back.
The writer, MG Sieger, talks about checking his phone while at the dinner table and that his mother would rather he didn't, to his annoyance.
I read it all twice to check I was a) conscious and b) not blind, and then tried to think back to when I last disagreed with someone with the same magnitude. After a second or two I decided that I'd never disagreed with someone this much. Ever. Those who know me will hopefully agree that I'm a fairly tolerant chap, but this rudeness got to me.
So, to everyone who checks their phone with alarming regularity whilst with other humans, be it in a pub, cafe, or restaurant, this is for you...
What are you doing on your phone that's more important than the conversation you're currently in? Perhaps you hadn't realised in your digital, tweeting, status-checking state of delerium, but being with mates in the pub is called being sociable. These are your friends - like the ones you have on Facebook, but they actually give a damn about you. They're sat right in front of you, waiting for you to stop gawping at the tweets of someone you've never met and answer their bloody question.
I know checking your phone is habit, like heading straight to Facebook after opening a new browser window, but it's still unacceptable with others around you.
Just got a text? Of course you'd know, because your phone's on the fucking table, but does it need to be replied to right this very second? No. If the sender needed an instant reply because their house is on fire or they've lost their daughter then they'd call you, or someone less moronic.
So you've checked it anyway. Hey, it might be work-related! Only it's not, because it's probably your mum. Or Vodafone. But you checked, then you type out a reply, while your mates sit awkwardly waiting for you to rejoin that social network also known as the real world. Sure, they could keep talking, but then you're not listening so you'll butt in in a few minutes asking what they're talking about.
Incase you hadn't noticed - which you probably hadn't, because staring at your MSN contacts list is way more important - there's a sort of social hierarchy that you should probably stick to. At the top there's the people you are with right now; be it your mates, your mum or your bank manager, they take priority. So when you get a text/email/tweet/event invite/phone call LEAVE IT ALONE. It can wait a minute can't it? Yes. Yes it can, until your current conversation is over. Answering your phone while being served at a shop? I'm queuing behind you, wondering if I could tear your fingernails off one by one with a rusty key.
If I come back from the bathroom and see you checking your phone, that's cool, go ahead. You found a sensible time to check your tweets. You clever human, you.
Just because we all carry iPhones or whatever that leave us connected to the Internet 24/7 doesn't mean we need to be connected the whole time. MSN on your phone? Great for a long train journey, but in the pub? Turn the damn thing off and pay attention.
I should say that this post isn't aimed at any one person but Mr Siegler's blog post annoyed me. If you've made it this far then well done, you may check your phone now.