How crazy does high tech make you look?
My mom and I walked together slowly through an icy mall parking lot. A well-dressed woman walked past us briskly, shouting into the frosty air.
"I see a lot more of that lately," mused mom after the woman passed. "So many mentally ill people at the mall and at the store."
I explained to mom that I did not think the woman was mentally ill. The woman most likely had a Bluetooth device on underneath her woolly hat. The woman was probably having a heated phone conversation as she strode purposefully though her day.
"I don't know about Bluetooth," said Mom. "But if you are screaming in public at people no one else can see, you have mental problems."
Good point, Mom!
When we fail to make eye contact, when are out of touch with our surroundings, when we scream at invisible people...we have problems.
And the way many people use new technologies in public, why, they do look mentally infirm!
It's not just Bluetooth. Talking loudly into a cell phone in a public place does not acknowledge or respect the presence of other people. When a man stares blankly into space or bops his head as he walks toward me on the sidewalk, I must uncomfortably assess whether he is listening to the music on his iPod earbuds...or whether he might be a dope addict.
A sub-par approach to using new technologies in public can undermine reputation. A less than civil presentation affects public perception of a person's very competence.