Pete Davison: Selfish Gawper

Posted on April 19, 2011 by

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The TV is one of the most ubiquitous items of consumer electronics, but it’s also one of the ones I use for its originally-intended function least frequently. Oh, sure, I watch DVDs and use my consoles on it pretty much every day. But watching actual, proper TV on it? No.

There are plenty of reasons for this. The first is the fact that there’s just not a lot of stuff on TV that I’m that interested in watching. Related to this is the fact that of the stuff I am vaguely interested in on TV, I feel a bit of resentment towards being tied towards the arbitrary schedule of the TV channel. I of course don’t have to worry about it, as most of the stuff I am interested in watching is available either on iPlayer or the awesome YouTube Shows. And for lengthy series, I’ll tend to wait until the DVDs are available and then watch the whole lot as it suits me.

This is very much a symptom of the modern age. People want what they want, and they want it when they want, dammit. It’s a wonder the Tube hasn’t yet been replaced by individual passenger carts that you call by pressing a button on the platform when you’re quite ready to leave. (Actually, that’d be kind of cool, if terribly impractical.) It’s pretty much only travel where we have to be tied down to someone else’s schedule these days—and even then, if you’ve got money to burn, that isn’t an issue.

The trouble with this, of course, is that it indirectly makes people more selfish. People get used to being able to have what they want when they want, and when they are put into a situation where they might have to wait their turn for something, some people get a bit stroppy about it.

Let me use one establishment in which I used to work as an example. Said establishment worked on an appointment system for technical support, and with good reason. Several hundred angry customers with broken computers or generic multimedia playback devices (some of which incorporate telephony features) all bearing down on the desk at the same time would have been completely unworkable, so customers had to book appointments. I lost count of the number of times people got in a strop over this, however you positioned it to them. They just didn’t seem to understand the fact that they weren’t the only person in the store (not by a long shot) and that there were—shock—other people who’d got there before them.

Perhaps, then, everyone would do well to tie themselves to the TV schedules once in a while, just to remember what it’s like. And if you live in an area which hasn’t had the digital switchover yet, spend a couple of days getting your news via Ceefax instead of the Internet. People actually used to live with, you know, waiting around and having to be in the right place at the right time. And they did all right.

So take the time to think of other people once in a while. The world doesn’t just revolve around you, though the world of social media and the Internet might make it seem that way sometimes. Be a bit less selfish. And if you say you’ll be there at 8, be there at 8.

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Posted in: Pete Davison