Saturday, July 05, 2008

Social Niceties

My home pc is getting crankier and more passive aggressively belligerent by the day, so I'm sitting in an internet cafe in my neighbourhood. It's filled with the usual mix of Newtownians; a couple of gay boys, some hipster chicks, an old guy checking his emails, and a middle aged woman looking for accommodation online while her dog whines outside on the street. It's really cheap, up to 3 hours of web surfing for $4.40, and consequently pretty busy.

I've come in here a couple of times now over the past week, and each time I've been struck by the behaviour of some people. I mean this is no hushed shrine, no scholarly library or place of learning, but people are trying to do their own thing and concentrate on whatever they are looking at on the web. Yet, loud mobile phone calls, chatting with a friend at a computer across the room, or singing to oneself all seem to be perfectly natural behaviours.

Gah, I sound like an old curmudgeon. Especially because it seems to mostly be the youngsters that have the worst disregard for anyone else. I'm turning into that guy, the one that shoots you a withering look for constantly drumming your fingers on the table, or feels like chiming in to say that maybe Stephanie would enjoy your conversation about Nick more if you took that phone outside.

Is it ageing that's making me notice this stuff more? (And don't even get me started on going to the cinema these days.) Have people become less aware or interested in whether they are bothering others? Or so used to being isolated in their own iPod surround sound cocoons, or watching DVDs at home, that they can sit in a public space and behave like they are in their own home? Or do they fundamentally just not give a toss?

9 comments:

mrpeenee said...

Aren't you glad you live by yourself now? At least you can escape at home.

yani said...

I'll take "they don't give a toss" for 100 thanks Alex...

People just seem to be getting ruder over time, I don't know why, but it's annoying...

M-H said...

We forgot to talk to you about this today - there is a mac laptop that is presently surplus to our requirements. Email me if you're interested.

John Lampard said...

Ah you see they're not called internet cafes for nothing are they? :) What's up with the movies? Do people behave like they do at internet cafes or something?

Victor said...

It could be age too...as I approach my 'senior citizenship' I feel the same way...

Mindy said...

I read a blog comment recently where the commenter talked about the middle aged couple who talked throughout a music act which was held in a small intimate Canberra club. She was stuck behind them in the small venue and had to try and blank them out so she could enjoy the music. Why go to a concert if you just talk to each other and disturb everyone else? And they were middle aged, not Gen Y or whoever is after them.

jason said...

People don't teach their children how to act in public anymore...and now we see the results. Can't much blame the youngsters really.
I suppose that makes me sound like a coot, but it's true.

Therin of Andor said...

Most people with mobile phones assume they come with a personal Cone of Silence. Mobiles have really changed the tone of my 50-min trips home from the CBD on Thursday nights.

Funniest one recently was the woman who chatted loudly for the entire hour to one daughter, complaining about the other foolish daughter who wastes money on her mobile phone.

Michael Guy said...

I feel these problems you note fall under my observations of a 'false sense of entitlement.'

i.e...I am special. I am gifted. Why can't I blather on in cinema? Why can't I talk on my mobile on a full train? I'm not sure these folks truly believe they are being rude. And if YOU should happen to point that fact out..then it's YOU who is rude and intrusive into THEIR space.

Asshats, all.

Did I miss the sign-up sheet for coots and curmudgeons yet? Keep me in the loop.