Sunday, September 20, 2009

Cell phones are great, but......

Now that's a big "but" to think about. The other day I was in my office examining a patient. As I was going through his medical history with him, his cell phone rang. In this day and age, I'm quite used to the patient's cell phones ringing. What I'm not used to is what happened next. This gentleman calmly raises a hand, a clear indication for me to stop what I'm doing. I was a little annoyed as it was a busy day and I was in a bit of a rush. But I stopped and waited while he answered the phone. But that's not all, listen to what he said next.
He cupped his phone and said, "Excuse me, Doctor. Can you please step outside? This is a personal call."
I was absolutely floored. He was asking me to step outside from my own office!
"Who is it? The White House?" I asked.
"No doc, more important. It's my girlfriend."
I just held up my hands and stepped outside.

As civilization has evolved, there have been numerous inventions and innovations. Rules, regulations and manners pertaining to those inventions have followed, but after a certain lag. When we drive our vehicles, we follow certain rules. When we eat food, there are certain table manners to be followed. When you go to a social event, there's a certain etiquette to be adhered to.

So what about cell phones and texting? Most people are considerate, but some are downright rude. My biggest pet peeve is when people will suddenly start texting in the middle of a conversation, without as much as an "excuse me!" Unless you are texting the name of a life-saving medicine for somebody at the other end, the message can wait a few minutes. I know good manners sometimes simply means putting up with other people's bad manners, but there is always a limit to what you can, and should tolerate. Recently there was a study by a very reputable university to ascertain "Does texting, while driving, increase the chance of accidents?" Do you really need a study to prove that?!!

Now I firmly believe we all should t
reat everyone with politeness, even those who are rude to us - not because they are nice, but because we are. But I think it is the responsibility of real friends to point out our shortcomings. If everybody around me is nothing but an ego-booster, I'm never going to improve and my shortcomings will worsen, to my own detriment.

Our manners and etiquette go a long way in defining us as a person. It reflects our true nature, our education and our upbringing. Bill Maher once said, "Give me 10 minutes with a person-- 5 sober and 5 after a few drinks, and Ill write an essay on his character."

Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use. ~ Emily Post