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Captain You Planet In The Coffee Shop

I am once again in a coffee shop, and am once again sitting next to a middle-aged man who has decided to start working his phone to arrange his personal business, and keep himself occupied. This is not the same phone-addicted man who has vexed me in the past at this coffee shop. I’m sure that dude will come later. I am a magnet for this sort of person, apparently.

If you want to carry on a phone conversation here, it’s easy to step outside; the weather isn’t bad at all.

But no. We can’t do that. We will inflict ourselves on everyone else in the coffee shop.

I observe that the offenders in these cases are not teenagers, but men even older than I am.

Maybe standards are changing. Maybe it’s not rude to carry out long phone conversations in a coffee shop, and subject everyone around you to your side of the conversation. Maybe it’s just me.

And maybe it’s just me, but maybe you too are driven around the bend by people who sit at the dinner table, or in the middle of a conversation, and text. I’m not talking about people who answer an important or urgent text; I’m talking about people who withdraw from the conversation to carry out text conversations, without leaving the table. A couple of times lately I’ve looked up to find one of my interlocutors deeply enmeshed in texting — this, even though we were in the middle of a conversation. In both cases, the interlocutors decided there was something more important to talk about via text than whatever the people sitting right in front of them were saying, and simply dropped out of the conversation — even, in one case, when the person was being addressed directly.

I don’t get it. I’ve not seen this among older people, but rather among the under-30 set. What is wrong with people? Says the great Brian Regan: “Oh, it’s all about you. You let us know when you’re all set, Captain You Planet.”

UPDATE: Oh good, he left. What kind of vehicle does he drive? I bet you can guess.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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