How will I do on World Hello Day?

Because people have these new devices, it’s become impossible even to ask them what time it is.

hello-my-name-isFriday, November 21 is World Hello Day. “Anyone can participate… simply by greeting ten people. This demonstrates the importance of personal communication for preserving peace.”

This, historically, would be an action that was right up my alley. Unfortunately, I find it increasingly difficult to say hello to people. Most of the folks I see each day are on the bus. Invariably, they have devices stuck in their ears and/or in front of their faces. Even people I know in passing don’t know I’m speaking with them.

The change is fairly recent. I’ve been riding the bus to Corporate (frickin’) Woods for nine years, and this simply was not a problem then. I was involved with any number of conversations with people who wee not particularly known to me, though you start developing “bus relationships.”

These days, the bus is full, yet I feel alone. I use my own devices, not just because I really need to use them, but almost in self-defense.

Because people have these new devices, it’s become impossible even to ask them what time it is. Not so long ago, the universal symbol for requesting the time is to point to your wrist, where your watch might have been. But because the watch is passe, the symbolism it represented is likewise diminished.

Still, I’ll make the effort to say hello, if only because the need is greater than ever.

Some time ago, I put together a CD of Hello songs. LISTEN to a few:
Judy Collins – Hello, Hooray
Todd Rundgren – Hello It’s Me
Sopwith Camel – Hello, Hello
Oasis – Hello
Only peripherally related sidebar: one can’t use an LED bulb to visually represent an idea. It has to be an incandescent bulb, which is largely banned in the United States.

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

4 thoughts on “How will I do on World Hello Day?”

  1. Oh, agree so much on the device stuff. It makes me crazy. When I’m somewhere and everyone else is scrolling FB on their phones, to me it sends the message, “These invisible people in my device are more interesting than you are; I don’t want to interact with you.” Of course that’s colored by childhood memories but it does send a pretty unappealing message.

    I once threw a student out of my office during an appointment with me they scheduled, because they pulled out their phone and started checking it. I would have been okay with it if they said, “This might be an emergency, I have to check it” but no, it was like I wasn’t there.

    People are losing the ability to “see” other people, I fear. Figuratively and literally – I’ve had people nearly run into me in the halls and in the supermarket because they were glued to their blasted phones.

  2. Ditto on the Portable Stupid Boxes. ‘Nuff said.

    I say HELLO to everyone. But then, Lex says I would say “hello” to a telephone pole and strike up a perfectly lively conversation.

    I see everyone I meet. Perhaps it’s the happy happenstance of living with bipolar, but I find people irresistible, like books waiting to be read. So perhaps it simply means I’m annoying…!!

    Roger, you will do fine. Now, for me, if they would start a National Shut The Hell Up Day, that might well be my Waterloo. Amy

  3. ” I use my own devices, not just because I really need to use them, but almost in self-defense.”

    I wonder how many other people that’s true of? When I used to commute by bus, I liked recorded music or the radio precisely so I wouldn’t have to interact with other people or, worse still, overhear their conversations.

    Nowadays, I often find myself in a group situation and we ALL check our phones or, in other, more relaxed contexts, maybe do things on our tablets. Far from being disconnected from each other, we’re actually experiencing different things, but together. We hold conversations as we do this, including with non-device using folks, so we’re not disconnected from anyone.

    When I’m not using a device but others are, it never bothers me. I don’t feel like they don’t think I’m important, just that they’re doing something on their device. I don’t need—and don’t particularly care to be—the undivided attention of someone else ALL the time.

    I also think we’ve all been trained for this by television, with it’s many ad breaks and rapid switching of sound and pictures. I think many of us need constant stimulation now, and those devices provide them.

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