Sick of This Text…..”Sorry I’m Late”

 On Oct. 5, 2010,    I published the article,  “Are We Really Connected……..?”   Well,  Elizabeth Bernstein of the Wall Street Journal shares her story and others in this above titled story.  People will shamelessly use texts to excuse their poor behavior.  At times, this behavior has ended many friendships or at the very least damaged many a friendship.  In reading this article, you may discover a part of yourself in there.  At any rate, I am definitely on the right track when I state:  We are Plugged In, No way are we connected in real life.  This is Elizabeth’s Article.

I recently made plans to meet a good friend for dinner. We picked our favorite Italian place in Brooklyn and both swore we’d be there at 8.

Now, thanks to cellphones, BlackBerrys and other gadgets, too many of us have become blasé about being late. We have so many ways to relay a message that we’re going to be tardy that we no longer feel guilty about it.

And lateness is contagious. Once one person is tardy, others feel they can be late as well. It becomes beneficial to be the last one in a group to show up, because your wait will be the shortest.

BONDS

“Cellphones let you off the hook,” says Kelly Casciotta, a 34-year-old pastoral counselor from Orange, Calif. She says she has been habitually tardy for years—late to everything from concerts to friends’ weddings—and once showed up an hour and a half late for a date. Her husband says she has “T.E.D.”—Time Estimation Disorder.

She says she feels little remorse. “If I am heading to a meeting and am running behind, I feel I am being responsible if I text five minutes before the meeting is supposed to start to say I am going to be 10 minutes late,” she says.

Don’t believe that tardiness is out of control? Ask around. Diana Miller, 65, a financial adviser from San Diego, says she broke up with a good friend who was habitually late. Melissa Gottlieb, 24, a Manhattan publicist, once asked a policeman to drive her to class in college because she was running behind. (He did it.)

Full disclosure: Last week I showed up 20 minutes late to pick up a friend for dinner. (He took it well, even though he was waiting outside in a tropical storm.) I’ve missed a flight because I arrived at the airport after the deadline to check baggage. And I was once more than an hour late to meet my bungee-cord buying friend.

It’s hard to believe I grew up with a father who is a Navy veteran fond of quoting a Marine friend of his: “If you’re early, you’re on time. If you’re on time, you’re late.”

Of course, people were tardy—even chronically so—long before smartphones. How else would Lewis Carroll have come up with the White Rabbit?

Some people were raised in cultures where tardiness is tolerated. Others learned poor time-management skills from their parents.

Far too many of us, though, try to cram too much into the day, leaving no time to get from place to place. And a few people use their tardiness to display power or control. (Think about the people who routinely show up late to meetings at your office. I bet they’re not the peons, right?)

Here’s the problem: Being late—especially over and over—can leave the other person feeling disrespected.

And yet, delays happen. The car refuses to start, the baby throws up on your tie, a co-worker stops by your desk to chat just as you’re packing it in for the day.

It’s the varying nature of these unexpected delays that actually makes it so hard for people to be on time, says Dan Ariely, a professor of psychology and behavioral economics at Duke University and author of “The Upside of Irrationality.” Because what goes wrong is different each time, people fail to plan for the delays. “They never take the average into account,” he says.

It works like this: If every day as you left work to go pick up your kids, your printer broke and took half an hour to fix, you’d soon start planning that time into your commute. But it isn’t always the printer that goes wrong. Sometimes it’s an unexpected email; other times it’s your boss. And because the cause of the delay is different each time, it feels unexpected.

Dr. Ariely has found that people are more likely to show up on time if they have made a deal with themselves to do so. In an experiment conducted last year, he asked 2,500 Americans this question: If you knew you had a colonoscopy scheduled for a particular day, would you be willing to put aside $500 that you would forfeit if you didn’t show up for the procedure on time? Sixty percent of the participants said they were willing risk money. “They make this pre-commitment to ensure their own behavior,” Dr. Ariely says.

Dannie Raines, 52, a property manager in Pasadena, Calif., knows all too well how chronic lateness can harm relationships. Allowed to walk to school alone when she was in kindergarten, she was suspended on the first day of school for being half a day late; she spent the morning picking flowers and kicking the heads off mushrooms. (That didn’t go over well with her folks.) She was stripped of her student-council president title in junior high because of too many tardiness violations. (Ditto.) And she was an hour late for her own wedding. “My husband came very close to saying, ‘I don’t,’ ” she says.

Over the years, Ms. Raines has tried to overcome her tardiness habit through therapy, self-hypnosis and by setting the clocks in her house ahead. But recently she had a bigger wake-up call.

When she arrived 30 minutes late to meet one of her best friends to play racquetball, her friend started crying and told her: “Your constant lateness makes me feel that you disrespect me.”

Ms. Raines says she tried to explain to her friend that she shouldn’t take her behavior personally. And she admitted she was the one with the problem. “But it damaged our friendship,” Ms. Raines says.

“There were many conversations with remorse and promises,” recalls the friend, Alison Lewis, 52, a licensed social worker from La Canada, Calif. In the end, though, she says, “I didn’t feel cared for.”

—Write to Elizabeth Bernstein at bonds@wsj.com and follow her column at www.Facebook.com/EBernsteinWSJ

Cafe Conversations | The Law of the Garbage Truck

How to Respond to People Who Dump on You, and  How to Stop Dumping on Others.

                      This little story keeps getting around more than Lindsay Lohan  and Kim Kardashian.  I only learned later that this ” little story” was part of an actual book .  I read excerpts from this book earlier this summer and LOVED IT!   Read this small tidbit from the author, David J. Pollay’s  true life encounters and  what prompted him to write this book.  I am certainly happy he did.  You will enjoy his  wisdom that  he so  graciously shares with all of us grateful folk.  No longer will you let everyone’s “garbage”  influence your daily life.  In turn, you may want to stop dumping yours on those around you.  I highly recommend this as a gift to yourself and for anyone you care about. Even an anonymous gift to someone in dire need?   The Holidays are flying toward us, at record speed.  Only 79 days remain till christmas.  Perhaps a Nook and a copy of this book.  What a Great Gift!   Me, I like the real books, but a Nook is good!

             Excerpt:   One day I hopped in a taxi and we took off for the airport.  We were driving in the right lane when suddenly a black car jumped out of a parking space right in front of us.  My taxi driver slammed on his brakes, skidded, and missed the other car by just inches! The driver of the other car whipped his head around and started yelling at us.  My taxi driver just smiled and waved at the guy. And I mean, he was really friendly.  So I asked, ‘Why did you just do that?  This guy almost ruined your car and sent us to the hospital!’   This is when my taxi driver taught me what I now call, ‘The Law of the Garbage Truck.’

                He explained that many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment.   As their garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it and sometimes they’ll dump it on you. Don’t take it personally.  Just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. Don’t take their garbage and spread it to other people at work, at home, or on the streetsThe bottom line is that successful people do not let garbage trucks take over their day.  Life’s too short to wake up in the morning with regrets, so … Love the people who treat you right.   Pray for the ones who don’t.   Life is  10%  what you make it and 90%   how you take it!

                REVIEW:  Twenty years ago, while riding in the back of a New York City taxicab, syndicated columnist and business consultant David J. Pollay had an awakening-and he converted the lesson he learned that day into a life philosophy:   By letting other people’s “garbage”-their negativity-simply “pass by,” and not dumping garbage on others, you can become happier and more successful, both personally and professionally.  Since David published the “Law“ in his newspaper column three years ago, more than 1,000 blogs have posted it, millions more have read it, and organizations worldwide have adopted it.  And the numbers keep growing.  Translated into nearly 50 languages,  people from more than 100 countries have taken David’s “No Garbage Trucks! Pledge.”  All over the world people remember the focusing metaphor of the garbage truck for what can be achieved in life by not staking success and happiness on the behavior of others.   Powerful and easily understood, The Law of the Garbage Truck will guide and inspire readers everywhere, every day.

Great book!    Read Often!     Have a blessed, garbage-free day!

The book is available at Barnes & Noble  $11.66,  eBook  $9.59.  Here is the link, folks.

http://productsearch.barnesandnoble.com/search/results.aspx?store=BOOK&WRD=law+of+the+garbage+truck

Are We Really Connected…?

Beginnings:    The alarm buzzes you awake.  Morning!   Before the feet even hit the floor, we reach for the cell phone.  Time to wake up mr. phone!  Entertain and enlighten me.  Tell me what is happening in my world.   Who called?  Who texted?  Did I get any emails?  Chilly and cloudy, possible rain!  Yuck!  Oh, man!  The Lions can’t catch a break with the quarterback!  Damn!  You have only made it past the bedroom door.  Yey!  Crest and a toothbrush.  Oh cool,  Ashton and Demi were spotted at Koi.  They are still together.  Heading down the hall, 4 texts sent and answered.  Going to the Game on Saturday. Cool!  Reaching the kitchen, pouring a cup of coffee to help fuel the electronic data exchange that will continue for another 12 hours.   So much accomplished before even enjoying that first  cup of Joe!   Don’t say you aren’t guilty of this.  To some degree, everyone is. Electronic

Face Time:    I believe we keep in touch with others via electronic media.  However, I am not sure we are really connected!    Such a huge difference between keeping in touch verses being connected.   The lines become even more blurred with each passing year.  We change as the technology changes.  Being connected by definition is:  “being joined in close association.”   That is not the case with all this electronic media. Convenient, yes!   It was not so long ago,  that I would walk down the street to my neighbor’s home, carrying a basket of summer veggies fresh from the garden or a dish piled high with countless oven baked treats.  All with the hope of sharing coffee and some face time with another human.   Face to face interactions are amazing!   As I sit across from my neighbor, we both experience being in the moment.  Her acceptance of  my gift of neighborly kindness and mine as the gift giver.  Small, but Priceless.  MasterCard has nothing on me.  Then, while engaged in conversation, I take notice of her eye movement, facial expressions and hand gestures.  Something is not quite right.  The body language of  my friend expressed so much  more than the words spoken.  I knew something was amiss.  She was distressed.   I follow my instincts and continue to observe her while listening closely to every word.   I was connected to my friend, that is close association with another.  No phone call, text or email would  reveal what I saw by being present and truly, truly connected.

Plugged In:  Alas, it is not always possible to be present every moment of every day.  Perhaps becoming more aware that we need a bit more personal contact would be a good thing.  So, interesting enough, there is another definition for connected:  “Plugged In.”   Boy, isn’t that well said.  Of course, this originally  pertained to all appliances and power tools.  No comments from the peanut gallery!  In this modern-day electronic communication age, it means plugged in to society via whatever electronic media.  Whether by Facebook, Twitter, laptop and all the smart phone apps (do-dads), you know them all.  Yup!  I have most of them.  I even have a virtual pet cat.  So this means that checking email, voicemail, twitter, face booking? ( is that a word or verb?) we feel compelled to join in and stay plugged in.   All of which keeps us connected with the world and our 457 Facebook friends.  I get it!  I use all of these.   I just feel no obligation to them.  Does that mean I am not addicted yet?  Observations by myself  and other group discussions have affirmed belief that after a time, we become so  “Plugged In”,  that we become disconnected.  No pointing fingers or placing blame, it just happens.  We are in that moment of technology and totally unaware of other surroundings. 

 Technology in our family:   Statistics say that the average teen will text over 100 times per day.  Really!  Do they sleep at all?  Speaking of this.   Have you spent more than 20 minutes next to a pre-teen or teenager lately?  If so, then you know first hand that the body is present with their favorite gadget and that is all.   Try having a conversation.  How’s that working for you?   Our discussion group agreed on this general consensus regarding a typical conversation with “Susie”:  Hi, Susie!  How are you?  OK!  How was your day?  OK!  Congratulations!  You have just made it thru a whopping 10 seconds before her cell phone rings.  Naturally, it MUST be answered.  Screams!  Laughs!  OMGs galore!  Then, on to texting.  All the while, there you are, standing by, like the  Lighthouse high on a cliff, waiting for  passing ships.  You clear your throat to remind Susie, you’re still here.  Susie frowns.  I’ll have to call you back. K?  Too late, its sooo obvious you are intruding, that all you can say is, uh,  See ya later!    If you have not had the pleasure of experiencing this first hand, go stand in line at a department store or grocery.  The place where every 4-year-old in the store is calling out Mom! Mom!  Mom!  To this, every Mother, Grandmother, Aunt, Sister,  turns toward the voices.  No matter what our age, we always react.   Instinct!   No, watch a young adult inter-act  with a parent.  The phone is to the ear or fingers flying at record speed across the keys.  The parent can call out, Trevor!  Trevor!  Trevor!  Being 3 feet away carries no guarantee of being heard.  Trevor at last responds, Huh!   The parent asks questions, replies are grunted.  Annoyed, Trevor walks away.  It never dawns on the young adult that perhaps lending a helping hand may serve them well today and in the future.  I always took advantage of any moment to be a do-gooder.  Might need to use the car on Saturday!    Apparently I was of a minority as my children, no matter the age, should participate in the activity of the moment.  From placing items on the check-out stand to carrying bags to and from the car.  How hard is it?  

Technology in the WorkPlace:   My all time favorite story of one of being sooooo plugged in and certainly disconnected simultaneously, that my hair stands on end.  Here it is:  A member of our discussion group told a tale that was surely meant to be shared on a camping trip, while under a moonless night sky, in a too small tent with flashlights tucked under our chins. I still get  Goose Bumps!  Do I hear wolves howling?   On the job, my friend Ted, was the only employee in the office.  The employer, Mr Owner,  was usually gone, communicating thru email, text & voicemail.  When Mr Owner  would briefly stop in, the smart phone never left his fingers or his ear for that matter.  Alas,  the lonely and apparently lowly employee was not allowed to speak to him or ask questions of  Mr Owner.  Ted could however, text or email comments or questions to Mr Owner.  These usually went unanswered.  The only time an answer would come would be to point out some “crazy fact”   Ted had not done on a case.  Ted emailed  “How do I know what to do in certain cases, when no one is here to discuss it?”   Mr Owner emailed back, ” I am here to tell you what you do wrong, nothing more!”  NICE, huh!  The bit that drives me crazy, is that Mr Owner’s office was 10 steps away from Ted’s desk.  Mr Owner should go on Survivor as a detox program from technology.  Or, better yet, seek out the Wizard and ask for a heart and a brain.  

Love My Phone:    Hey, do not get me wrong here.  I love my smart phone and laptop.  Believe me if my smart phone could bring home a paycheck, treat me like a “princess” and build a new house on the lake,  I would consider  marrying my phone.  Research has shown that about 75% of women use email and text every day.  An even more staggering number is the fact that users over 55 have increased almost 500% in the last few years.  That’s 500% and that is not a typo.   Go Seniors!!!   WooHoo!  I really do understand why the over 55 set and older seniors are wild about it.  Packing up oxygen tanks, walkers and other Paraphernalia is not the most fun-filled way to start the day.  Physically impaired in any manner, whether temporary or permanent, makes face to face connecting sometimes difficult.  Ask someone who has had an accident recently.  Got Crutches?  You know what I mean.   So, technology, now this a winner for anyone in that position.  At times,  I can  fall into that category so I know of what I speak.  

Epilogue:   Perhaps the most bothersome subject I find, is becoming far too wrapped up in that “electronic cloak of technology”, at the cost of ourselves.  New technology is fantastic as I have stated!  We mere mortals on earth will eventually discover all these gadgets have become a burden.  The Burden of time lost.  Hours spin away while just checking  mail.  The burden of financing this technology.  ATT or Verizon is not cheap.  Add up the yearly cost.  It is astounding.   The burden of Loss.  The harshest of all.  We  truly loose a part of the  personal connection we once had with  our family and friends.   If you can accomplish all of this and remain truly connected,  Bless you!