Saturday, June 17, 2017

Living in the Future

I forgot how to use a bank teller. I mean, I understand how to use a bank and to bank with an actual human, but I haven't in maybe five or six years. I use the ATM and I do everything else online. But I had all these singles and a roll of quarters from a yard sale we had and I was actually sitting on the couch wondering how I was going to deposit the cash.

I had to refresh my memory about how to use the bank. I filled out a deposit slip and everything and I still had a mini panic attack while I was there that I had done something wrong and the woman was going to tell me I couldn't deposit my money (I don't know in what parallel universe I just thought the bank would refuse my money, but it was a niggling thought).

It made me start to take into account the way life is today. We have a lot of technology at our disposal. We communicate and build friendships over social media and the internet. But in the process have we forgotten how to do everyday things?

Mr. McKay and I went out for a bite to eat recently. We sat at the bar because the restaurant was crowded and we were starving. A woman across the bar looked vaguely familiar to me, while I was trying to place her and act like I wasn't staring, she waved and smiled at me. I froze for a few seconds like I didn't know how to act like a human. If someone says hi to you, you should say hi back. Even if you aren't sure where you know them from or what they want from you. After a few awkward moments, it clicked that we had gone to high school together, but the embarrassing part was I'm friends with her on Facebook and had chatted with her recently. Yes, it is understandable that I didn't recognize her right away, but I could have been a little less weird about thinking that I knew her. 

I prefer to buy things online. I hate traffic. I hate going to the store. I hate shopping. At the food store I'll opt for the self-checkout. I have no patience for the person in front of me who decided to use the self-checkout but then needs to call someone over to help because they don't know how to ring up their own produce. This is not making my shopping experience quicker!

But when did I become such a jerk? When did the world turn into a bunch of jerks who don't have enough time for human interaction? 

I work in retail during the hours of my boring day job. 80% of the people I encounter don't speak to me in complete sentences. They don't make eye contact. They huff and sigh when the credit card machine doesn't work quick enough or my register runs out of receipt tape. Most of the time they don't end their phone call while they try to speak to me and the person on the phone simultaneously. It's annoying and frustrating.

My favorite time of day to work is early in the morning. On a week day before 10am, when the senior citizens come out. They ask me for help in finding things. They take five times as long at the register because they write out a check (who uses checks anymore?). They make eye contact when they speak to me and seem genuinely surprised when I strike up a conversation with them. They apologize for being slow and thank me for my patience. When did the world turn into a place where you have to thank people for not rushing you? I tell them I don't mind because I get paid by the hour (old men think that joke is hilarious). They tell me to have a good day and I actually believe that they mean it. 

It reminds me that it's okay to talk to the person in front of me at the self-check out. I know where the button is for cubanelle peppers so why wouldn't I share that information? And it's okay to ask the bank teller if I filled my deposit slip out correctly, even if I am a little embarrassed that I'm in my 30's and seem to have forgotten this life skill. It's okay because she's a human and I smiled and said thank you. And I told her I liked her earrings because they were cute. My laptop never wears cute earrings. 

I might forget once in a while, but in between rushing from point A to point B, I'm going to try to remember how to be a human. 


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