In my notebook, I have a three word observation: “Culture of interruption”.
This was after I had gone to an Opticians, wishing for my ill-fitting glasses to be adjusted. They had been causing me pain, and often slid down my nose, obstructing my vision. The conversation went something like this:
“These glasses are causing me pain above my right..”
“We can fix that for you”
“Ear, and the lenses are pulling the frame down..”
“We can fix that for you”
“..Obstructing my vision.”
Before I continue, I would like to say, lest you think me a hypocrite, that I am guilty of interruption; however, this post is not about the interruption itself, but the politics behind it.
Prior to the beginning of this year, I read The Vanity Fair Dairies by Tina Brown. One of the things that struck me most about this book is that the diary was written in a time when technology was speeding everything up: they had the fax, people, a fax! As a brand new invention, this meant technology allowed quicker communication.
I think that the effects of this are still around today; culturally, there seems to be interruption. Technology may be integrated with everything-from schools with smartboards, to laptops for note taking-yet this has, to me, meant technology has had an impact on communication.
For instance, it’s not uncommon for me to talk to someone, who isn’t aware I’m trying to engage; they have their eyes glued to a smartphone screen. At a trip to the London aquarium, the amount of people invading the personal space of others for a selfie was sky-high. In making phone calls for a story, the person on the other line was rapidly holding their end of the conversation. (“Where are you calling from? “..I am a trainee journalist..”)
I am not the best communicator. At all. I often find it hard to communicate what I think; politeness, being diplomatic, etc was impressed upon me from a very early age. It’s also tied up with other issues I have.
But: this cultural intteruption-where we have speed up in time, seemingly, due to technology, makes it so much harder for me. (Ironic, no, being a Blogger?) I appreciate that people have to get results, and fast: yet there are people on the other side of this. We have feelings. We have thoughts.
It sometimes makes me feel isolated; being slow on the uptake of a joke in a quick-fire convo, not understanding a witty rapid sarcastic remark. I also feel stupid, in not being able to stand up to a weight of a conversation. I often feel like walking away, to be by myself.
I think, overall, I prefer to observe people; whilst at a conference recently, Editor after Editor reminded all of us that it is important to remember that there are people in stories-they have feelings, too. Their point was to be sensitive, empathetic, and patient.