It bodes poorly for me that speed impresses you

Unlike Chandler Bing, I can’t make things happen instantaneously, 24-7.p>On the way to teach my night class this week, I got an irate phone call from an unlikely source.
“Where WERE you?” Mom asked with an edge to her voice. “I called your iPhone!”
Truth be told, I didn’t have my iPhone on me. I was under the back end of The Classic, prying off a pair of 40-year-old shocks. Shockingly, I didn’t carry my $400 phone outside into a freezing cold garage.
When I got back inside, I picked up my iPhone, saw “Mom and Dad” on the caller ID and called home. Dad was there, said he didn’t call and we chatted. Turns out Mom called from her cell phone, a phenomenon that occurs about as often as a Haley’s Comet sighting, so there was that…
This was the third time this week I got a “Where the hell were you?” phone call. The other two were from the editor at the student newspaper. In one case, I was in the garage. The second time, I was on the john. Still, the same argument was made: you have an iPhone. Ergo, I should be able to be lo-jacked into your soul.
News flash to those who haven’t figured it out yet: The iPhone is not a talisman. It does not endow you with special powers. If I leave it in Place A and go to Place B without it, the chances are pretty good that Jesus will not descend from on high, find me and convey the urgent message that janitor didn’t pick up our newsroom’s trash today.
And it’s not just the phone that’s becoming a pain in the ass.
I get emails from students like this all the time. In one case, a kid was waiting for me at my office door at 7:30 a.m.
“Didn’t you get my emails?” he demanded. “You NEVER got back to me.”
I went to bed at 10:30 that night and checked my email before I went to bed. When I booted up my laptop and checked my email, there they were. Three emails, all within 20 minutes of each other, that were sent somewhere on the shallow side of midnight.
Perhaps it’s a sign of the times: since people are able to send messages to all kinds of devices at all times of day, people assume someone is on the other end of those messages, 24-7, just champing at the bit to respond. Maybe it’s that we now have access to so much information, all the time, that we feel a failure to plan on our part is truly an emergency that needs to be solved on someone else’s part.
Maybe we just all have lost our patience.
However, there are actual moments of my life that don’t belong to someone else. If I’m taking a shit, I’m not answering the phone. If I’m under the hood of my car fixing something, I’m not stopping for a telemarketer. If it’s important, they’ll call back.
Sorry, but I can’t be like the guy I saw in the men’s room once who had a blue tooth in his ear, a texting pager in his left hand and his dick in his right. Apparently, his interest in world domination via technology could not be paused while he saddled up next to me at the urinal in the journalism building. I don’t know how he could concentrate with all that going on, as just listening to him had me so discombobulated that I almost pissed on my shoes.
Which is how I felt when I kept getting the “what’s wrong with your phone?” phone calls.
Eventually I solved Mom’s crisis with her email and had a couple minutes before class. In that class, I had three kids complaining that the syllabus hadn’t been up online a week before the class started.
The next day, I got my evaluations from the fall semester. While most of the scores were great, I had one particularly low score.
Apparently, I don’t return graded assignments fast enough.

5 thoughts on “It bodes poorly for me that speed impresses you

  1. montag says:

    As for those kids, thinking everyone, everywhere, should be available 24/7, just wait until they have a boss who thinks the very same as they do…
    They’re gonna get headaches trying to figure out what their actual hourly rate is, and migraines when they start calculating the overtime they’re not getting.

  2. Athenae says:

    See, for me it’s the adults who have the stunning cell phone fail. I used to work in an office that shared a bathroom with another office full of people who yakked on their cells in the bathroom stalls all day long. IT ECHOES IN THERE ALSO NO ONE WANTS TO HEAR THAT OH MY GOD.
    A.

  3. Interrobang says:

    This post should be about Exhibits A to QQ demonstrating why I don’t have a cell phone. 🙂
    I used to have the problem of clients expecting me to be on the receiving end of messages at odd hours of the night, but the clients in question were in Korea and apparently didn’t fully grasp that a) I was in Canada, b) the concept of time zones, c) when it’s 4:30 PM in Seoul, it’s 2:30 AM in GMT -5…

  4. Robert Earle says:

    I have said for years (and not just about cell phones): phones calls are requests; requests can be refused.

  5. The Other Sarah says:

    It is ill-mannered in the extreme to expect a response to a non-emergency message.
    I do not have nor do I wish to have a cell phone, pager, Iphone, Ipod, “smart” phone, or other leash.
    I wore leashes for years while working for indoor air quality firms and the state of Texas.
    I’m done with that.
    I do have and will promote a cell-phone related concern.
    “Buckle Up and Stop Texting” or BUST, sponsored by KCBD-TV sports director Pete Christy.
    Here is a link to the program, and the story about why it was started.
    http://www.kcbd.com/Global/category.asp?C=179084
    http://www.kcbd.com/global/video/flash/popupplayer.asp?ClipID1=4325966&h1=NewsChannel%2011%27s%20B.U.S.T.%20safety%20campaign&vt1=v&at1=News&d1=320733&LaunchPageAdTag=News&activePane=info&rnd=30539209

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