I do hope this column is not becoming a platform for misery! A forum for complaining. But I've been re-reading a few past entries and it does seem that I am edging into negativity perhaps just a shade too much. But that's what this blogging business is all about. A personal reflection of my thoughts. Oh dear! Well, we can always stand to learn a few things about oneself. What would you write?
I was at Tesco recently and, keeping my eyes and ears open as you do, noticed a man of about thirty-five accompanied by a child out shopping. Or at least, they were in the shop. For while he was leaning up against the frozen vegetables, his mobile clamped to his face, annoyingly barking into it, she was pouting as only a bored annoyed eleven year old can, her arms folded and her foot tapping in the manner of someone who was terminally frustrated. I lingered naturally as the situation warranted it! To hear him ranting about some recent football game which had been shown on the box the night before.
And it struck me how little this chap didn't want to be in the company of this child. His daughter I am presuming. And the not so hidden message she was getting from that missed opportunity of communication. Of course, then I noticed it everywhere and remembered also the hundreds of similar times that I had been in the same circumstances as that kid.
I have visitors who seem to spend their time with me with one eye on their mobile or PDA. Who break off important conversation just to read an incoming text message. Who drive reading text messages! Who receive and make calls without so much as an excuse me. I realise that I am old fashioned and getting on in years but to me that is just unpardonable rudeness. It would be different if it were business of course but I would still expect an apology. Now I have to ask you, what is that saying about their friendship with me? How much respect are they showing to me? And therefore to themselves? How much respect was that man showing to his daughter? And will he understand why, when she grows up and exhibits delinquent behaviour, that he was partly to blame? For unloved kids almost always go down the path of problems. When his wife leaves him and his kids no longer care to live under his rules, and he becomes as lonely as hell, will he admit that he had a hand in it? Sadly, probably not.
In general, it seems as if people do not wish to be with people. Oh yes, they want to be in their company but not actually with them. I've lost count of the times I've noticed a couple out walking and both have been speaking to other people! Who are they talking to? And if they were with them, would they be using their phone to talk to yet another person? Its bizarre behaviour and everybody seems to be doing it, probably including you.
My most difficult memory so far concerning this occurred a few weeks ago. A teenage mother, her phone jammed under her chin, was absentmindedly pushing her pram with one hand while her tiny daughter, probably no older than eighteen months, was being dragged along by the other. You can imagine this picture. Then the child stumbled on a piece of broken pavement but was saved from falling because her hand was being held. However, the mother did not notice and for a full, I guess, seven seconds, she dragged the girl along like someone would pull a sack along the ground, the child's toes scraping on the pavement. I just could not believe what I was seeing. So why do you do it people? Why can't you just be with the person you are currently with?
A very dear friend of mine, someone whom I no longer have contact with unfortunately as he died, as soon as I entered his house, he would switch off the TV immediately and always let the answering machine take calls. Of course, in those days, there were no mobiles or text messages but I'm sure, had there been, he would have ignored them as well. He always gave me his full attention and naturally, I loved him for it. Because he made me feel wanted and worthy. Respected and loved. I have to admit then, that the current crop of people that I associate with, will almost certainly not be remembered in the coming years with as much affection as I remember my old friend. I wonder why that will be? Duh!