The Good Old Days

I remember the good old days when the only way to communicate with someone was to either speak to them in person or call them on the phone. Now, the kids and many adults text, tweet, e-mail, and do all kinds of crazy things with their cell phones or iPhones or whatever those things are called!

You can tell I am not really with it when it comes to all these new fangled gadgets. I still remember when I started a job in 1990 and they showed me my computer. I nearly fainted when I realized that they did not have any typewriters!! Of course, it did not take long for me to find out that this was a GOOD thing.

I was always a pretty good typist, but I used to just hate it when I made a spelling error toward the end of the paper and had to either use white out or – .if it was a paper for school that was important, I would have to retype the whole darn thing! But, with this magical computer that I was given I was able to type much faster and simply go back and make any corrections before I printed it.

Through the years I have mastered this computer thing, can do research on the Internet, send e-mails, and even make great presentations on PowerPoint. But, what about this Facebook stuff? Recently I have noticed people my age have been sending me e-mails and asking if I would be their “friend.” At first, I said to myself, “I thought I was already their friend.” Then, I figured out they wanted me to be their friend on Facebook. I really do not have any intention of joining in this new phenomenon, but I wonder what the proper etiquette is in a situation like this. Do I just ignore their request? Will they think I don’t like them anymore? Or should I send them an e-mail saying I will continue to be their real friend but won’t be their Facebook friend? It is just so complicated!

Let’s talk about these new phones that everyone seems to have. Have you ever just sat and watched people so engrossed in their phone and what it is saying to them? I cannot tell you how many times I have been talking with someone while they constantly check their text messages, or twitters or whatever it is people are sending them. To tell you the truth, I find it rude! I don’t mind if they are waiting for an important message and they excuse themselves to take the call or check the text. But, most of the time it is just another of their many text messages they get and send daily.

Are there any written rules now on cell phone use? According to a “Seinfeld” episode there used to be an “unwritten rule” for cell phone and home phone use. Elaine used her cell phone to call a friend to see how their sick dad was doing. Jerry said that was against the rules! He said that you should only use your home phone when calling someone in a situation like this! So when Elaine got home she called her friend again to check on her dad and Jerry called her and Elaine put her friend on hold to take the call. When Jerry found out he said she broke another rule: You NEVER take another call when you are speaking to someone about a sick relative.

Let’s get back to the good old days where we actually pay attention to each other more than we do to a little phone. Let’s just show some good old-fashioned manners!

Mary Velez is the director of Employee Wellness and Volunteer Services at Ohio Valley Medical Center and East Ohio Regional Hospital. She obtained a master’s degree from West Virginia University in community health education. She has a bachelor’s degree from West Liberty State College in physical education and special education and taught school in West Virginia for nine years.