Monday, May 23, 2016
I Can't HEAR You
As children, if someone* was saying something we didn't want to hear, we would stick our fingers in our ears. If that person continued to talk, we would call out "I can't HEAR you"... mostly to drown out what that person was saying. If we wanted to be even more clear, we would add 'lalalalalalalala', which also served to annoy the person who was trying to talk.
* Obviously this only applied to other children. It would have been very disrespectful to do this to parents or other adults... and the repercussions would likely have been severe!
This response was used at home against siblings, in schoolyards against classmates, and in many other locations, but the common denominator was that it was always done in person. After all, if someone sent you a letter and you didn't like what they were saying, it just wasn't very effective to send them a letter back that said 'I can't hear you', or even 'I didn't read your letter'. And besides, while the point of stating 'I can't hear you', especially with the added 'lalalalalala', was to annoy the other person, the major point of sticking your fingers in your ears was so that indeed, you couldn't hear what was being said. So sending a written response didn't meet either of these goals. You'd already read the letter, and sending a letter in response... was still a response, no matter what it said.
These days, we can choose from more methods of communication than ever. In addition to face-to- face discussions and telephone calls, we now have things like skype. In addition to letters, we now have emails, texts, and facebook. And interestingly enough, we now have variations on 'I can't hear you'. We can delete emails and text messages, of course.. either after, or even before we read them. And we can change our email settings so that emails from certain senders are automatically diverted to certain folders, or even trashed without having been read. We can block particular phone numbers in our text messages, and we can refuse skype requests.
And we can unfriend people on facebook.
Last week, someone unfriended me. Not just 'unfollowed' me, but actually unfriended me. If someone decides to quit following you, you never know. You go on your merry way, posting to your facebook page as usual, never knowing who is reading your posts - and who is not. But unfriending is a bit different. When you unfriend someone, they can no longer post on your page, and they can no longer see what you've posted on your own page. The person being unfriended doesn't get a message that you've unfriended them, but if they go to your page, they discover that they can't post and they can't see what is being posted by you.
Essentially, unfriending is the facebook version of sticking your fingers in your ears... although the other side doesn't know you can't hear them until they try to go on your page.
Now you might think I'd be a tad upset by this, but I have to tell you, quite sincerely, that I am not. I have long been a proponent of the notion that people should feel free to use their delete key on emails, and they should feel free to check caller ID and not take a phone call if they don't wish to speak to the caller. I like to think that I am consistent.. and so, being consistent, I take the position that people should feel free to unfriend people they don't want to hear from.
Frankly, unfriending someone is actually much more civilized than sticking your fingers in your ears and shouting "I can't hear you! (lalalalalalala)".
And before you start accusing me of ulterior motives, the person who unfriended me does not follow Teapot Musings, and I strongly doubt that they've ever read any of my postings. Nope, no ulterior motives. I'm just sitting here, rather amused by the 2016 version of sticking your fingers in your ears.
And of course the biggest problem with sticking your fingers in your ears, is that now you can't make a cup of tea. Fortunately, my fingers are nowhere near my ears, because I'm in the mood for a nice big mug.