Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

Commentary

January 23, 2013

Manners are manners and always will be

I recently heard a fellow say that old age begins when the world no longer makes sense to you. By that standard, I entered my Golden Years when I was 9.

The remark came as part of a talk on technology, which I'll admit rules our lives in ways we couldn't begin to imagine 20, 10, or even five years ago. But just because I can't figure out how to program my new phone doesn't mean I'm old. It just means I haven't caught up with the latest unnecessary functions from Android World.

Oh, phones. They are a boon to mankind and a bane to our existence, aren't they? They allow us to do a zillion things, including staying in touch with one another, while simultaneously eroding the bedrock of a civilized society.

It all gets down to manners.

I was raised to understand that a person's telephone conversation is privileged, and that a polite person leaves the room when someone takes a call. Also, a polite person doesn't take a call when he or she is engaged in conversation with an actual live human being-type person in the room.

As a kid, I actually found this very confusing: Leave the room when someone's on the phone, but don't answer the phone when someone's in the room? Huh? And that business about phone conversations being privileged? Please. We were on a party line. Anything said on the phone was fair game for the neighbors, and vice versa.

It seemed to me any way you played it, chances are you were going to get into trouble and it was easier just to stay off the phone altogether. Manners are manners and rules are rules and you followed them if you wanted to survive to adulthood.

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