I’m not sure why, and maybe it is the retro hipster in me, but every once in a while, I like to go a little crazy and have a conversation with another human being.
Not text. Not an exchange of e-mails. Not a “thumbs up” or a quick comment below a status, but a real, live, honest to goodness chat. I’m telling you, it is the biggest rush to walk up to someone in a store, exchange a few pleasantries, conduct a bit of business and move on with my day. Unfortunately, not everyone shares my affection for interaction and I suspect that before long, the lost art of conversation will become as obsolete as Beta videotapes, mood rings and pet rocks.
I realized this the other day when I popped into my local tanning salon for a 10-minute warm-up when the woman behind the counter asked, “Did you check-in online?”
I handed over my key fob feeling like a little kid who should have known better. “No,” I admitted.
“Well, did you know that you could do that?” she pressed through a tight smile.
Actually, I did. I had received a notification about it, but I kind of liked the idea of walking into the place and having a brief exchange…something ever so rare in our all-too-automated world. However, I was too embarrassed to admit that so I said no. What’s a little white lie among friends?
Big mistake. By feigning ignorance, I was treated to a five-minute tutorial about the company’s convenient, online check-in process. I pretended to be interested, but I couldn’t help wondering if it would have been easier to simply scan my card, take my fingerprint and assign me to a bed.
A few days later, I ran into a similar situation at the post office. Boy Wonder had assembled several care packages for the troops overseas and although we managed to print off a mountain of customs forms at home, I didn’t want to press my luck trying to purchase the postage online. This faux pas was the first thing I heard about when we arrived at the local branch.
“You know, you could have done this online and saved us a lot of time,” the man behind the counter noted.
I suppose I could have but maybe I wanted the thrill of watching my federal employee perform the job that my tax dollars are paying him to do. There is no discount or benefit to my buying postage at home, so why not help the guy earn an honest buck? I felt like replying, “Maybe I simply wanted to have a live conversation with someone outside of my own family today, but instead of welcoming me into your place of business, you’re pffended that I expect you to kick it old school and interface with me!”
Look, I appreciate technology and automation as much as the next person, but are we really saving everyone a few steps by eliminating the chatter or are we innovating humanity right out of business? I’m not sure, and while I may be old fashioned, I have no intention of giving in completely. I’ve been a talker all my life and I’m not going to stop now. So, you can spend a half hour explaining a process that would make Gone with the Wind into a short subject in hopes that it will effectively end our real time relationship and enable you to avoid me completely, but I won’t sign up for it. I will be back and when I return, I will still expect you to take five seconds out of your day and talk to me.
After all, I’m just kind of crazy that way.