In an age where politeness seems to be a missing piece in America, isn’t it amazing how polite inanimate objects can be? There are signs that say “Thank You for not smoking”.
First off when a sign says thank you for not smoking the question that needs to be answered is.. How did it know? What are signs now able to watch us or worse are precognitive and can anticipate our every move?
It is sweet though that a painted sign is concerned about my health.
Computers are the updated version of the impersonal sign, as they not only care about you but talk to you.
We have all had the eerie experience of having a computer voice call us and tell us about the latest sale at a store or that our child has a Dr. appointment we dare not miss.
They call us electronically which means even though I had to get up from my chair and answer the phone, a non-human dialed it and the information was distributed not by a human but a recorded human voice.
In the process of the conversation the body-less voice will say words like “please” and “thank you”. Sometimes the voice, which has no body will say “I’m sorry, I didn’t get that” or I didn’t hear you” Imagine an electronic device that has no ears is saying it doesn’t hear me.
I get frustrated with the voice and when it asks me to leave information I often times yell at it or tell it to shut –up or insult it since it has no feelings and never takes it personally I suppose because it has no person attached to it.
What is weird is when I feel guilty for my impatience and out bursts. I feel like I shouldn’t hang up on it since that is rude. RUDE! How can you be rude to electronics?
When we get angry at our cell phones for dropping calls and yell at them or throw them across the living room we don’t then recover it and ask if it’s ok and apologize. Why? Because it isn’t alive of course and it makes us feel good to abuse a nonperson since it isn’t a sin I think. (I believe the rule is you can only sin by insulting something with a soul.)
Not to mention it only exists because living human beings made it so. Nowadays even when you pursue a person by phone for help you have to negotiate your way around the non-person computer voice that doesn’t want you to jump to conclusions since “their menu has changed”.
I wonder if this depersonalization has caused so many who work for government businesses to be almost as impersonal as a computer. Have we become a nation that doesn’t feel the need to care about the people we talk to and engage?
I know I have been guilty of this but am now aware of it and am trying to grow more relational. My hope is to someday be as polite as a computer. Just a dream. Not that computers dream but I’m sure someone could right a program for them to fix that.
Then they can call me up and tell me about it and I can sinlessly scream at them. Everybody wins.