Phone Etiquette

Cell phones are everywhere, especially now that they are like mini-computers and can do quite a bit of just about everything. With the explosion of the Personal Digital Assistance (PDA) based phones over the past six years since the original Iphone came on the market, once common based courtesies that dealt with phone communication are now rapidly disappearing. Years ago when cell phones didn’t exist, there was an unwritten form of this type of etiquette which sadly will be extinct soon it seems.

As a kid, the only phone my family had were the ones in my kitchen and my parent’s bedroom. Connected to the one in the kitchen was an answering machine that had a small cassette tape in it which could record up to a minute or two of a message. Nine times out of ten when someone called anyone in my family back then, they left a recorded message, unless of course it was a marketing call. And usually within less than 24 hours, we always called the people back who left a message on that machine. As for outside the home back then, such as in the movie theater, the only talking going on was between people, and that was often hushed very quickly. At restaurants, conversations occurred between those dining or sometimes people just ate in silence with each other while they enjoyed their food. On public transportation, people sparked up discussions with random strangers all the time or shared a newspaper with someone around them. In waiting rooms at various doctor’s offices, hospitals, and other businesses, people either read magazines, sat quietly in silence, or chatted lightly with others around them. And as for driving a car, the only thing ever in anyone’s hands as they drove back then was possibly some food, a shaver, or makeup. Sadly, all of this is changing for the worse now with so many people having cell phones that can do so much.

The first thing I’ve noticed that is changing for the worse is that I get a lot of phone calls on my cell phone where people don’t leave me messages. I see a phone number that remains on my “missed call” log but no physical message is left behind. To most of the friends and acquaintances that I know these days who have cell phones, their idea of leaving a message is that “missed call” text that appears on my phone. Unfortunately, as most people know, cell phones are not perfect technology and there are times we get in random dead zones where phone calls may appear to be ringing on the caller’s end but they’re doing nothing but remaining silent on the receiving end. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve missed important phone calls because of this.

The second thing I’ve noticed that is changing for the worse is the lack of getting returned phone calls from those I’ve left messages for. With cell phones being used all the time now, people see that I’ve called and left a message but they either don’t even listen to it and give themselves a mental reminder to call me back at some other point, or they attempt to send me a text message to let me know that they’ll call me later but never do so. With how busy people are becoming these days, and the amount of time people are using their cell phones, unless one saves the message as a reminder to call or calls back immediately, it’s rare they ever remember to call at all. And as for texting me, I don’t even have that active on my phone so unless one has an Iphone, where they can send me an “iMessage”, their words are sent out into dead air so I never even know that they were making an attempt to get back to me.

The third thing I’ve noticed that is changing for the worse deals with all those public places I mentioned earlier. At the movie theaters, people are using their cell phones to text or be on the internet during the films and each time they do, it acts as a bright flashlight that distracts all the viewers. At restaurants, I’ve seen couples eating their food with one hand and holding their cell phones with the other, all the while avoiding any real conversation with each other. On public transportation, no one really seems to be talking to each other anymore as everyone has their headphones plugged into their cell phones where they listen to music, play a game, or do something else with it. And as for those waiting rooms, many of those magazines have disappeared and the majority of people now spend their time waiting by talking on their phones very loudly to others or texting constantly with a repeated noise each time a new message comes in.

The fourth thing I’ve noticed that is changing for the worse with this explosion of cell phone usage is the worst of them all and it deals with the texting and driving at the same time. It is now estimated that close to 1.6 million accidents are occurring each year now because of this. And it’s also known that the driving behavior when one is doing this is even worse than when one is drinking and driving. More and more deaths are happening now each year because of this too.

While cell phones have made life much easier as compared to those days when the only way to make a call was at home, phone etiquette is rapidly growing worse and worse because of them. In some cases, it’s even jeopardizing and taking people’s lives from this Earth as well. It would be nice if people could go back to the time when phones weren’t so important but alas, I guess we all are having to grow with the technology. Regardless, I just hope one day soon that people will begin to place their cell phone usage second to having better phone etiquette like it once was many years ago…

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

Be Grateful And Don’t Take For Granted Even The Simplest Of Things

It’s very easy to take for granted things we have all the time, until the day comes when we no longer have those things anymore. Have you ever truly thought about what it would be like if you suddenly lost your eyesight permanently? How about your hearing? Or what your ability to move your legs? Having endured for some time now high levels of physical pain that have severely limited my day to day functioning in life, has gotten me to thinking about this and how I took all of those things and more for granted throughout most of my life.

On most days now, I struggle to stand for any period of time and walking is limited to very short distances. Tasks I once never put much thought to such as taking a shower, going grocery shopping, walking through a mall, and so many other things are now extremely difficult to do. It’s also been hard to go through the past four summers where most of my friends and acquaintances partook in things I wanted so badly to do but couldn’t such as hiking, biking, jogging, going to amusement parks, taking long walks on the beach, or even playing various sports. Thankfully though, all of this has taught me a very important spiritual lesson and that’s to be grateful for ALL of what I have, even if it seems like the simplest of thing.

So for that set of eyes I have that are still functioning, I’m grateful to God because there are more than 39 million people out there in this world who can’t see a single thing with the ones they have.

As for that pair of ears I have that are also still functioning, I’m grateful to God because there are more than 15 million people out there in the world who can’t hear a single thing with the ones they have.

And then there’s my legs. While they aren’t functioning as best as I know they could be, I’m grateful to God anyway for them as they still have the ability to be used because there are over 130 million people out there in the world who have legs that no longer function to walk or even stand.

The list goes on and on with the amount of disabilities that people endure in the world these days which so many of us won’t ever have to deal with. I have a lot more compassion now for all of those people in the world who can’t see, or hear, or are paralyzed, or have any type of disability because of my own pains I’ve endured. And ironically, I’m even grateful for having all these pains and limitations in the first place because of how long I once lived my life completely oblivious to how good I really had it, as compared to how many people were suffering so much more in the world around me.

I have a gratitude journal now that I write in every single day. When each of my days come to an end, I open that journal and give thanks to God by writing at least nine things I was grateful for during that day. And I’ve been doing this for several years now and don’t plan on ever stopping. In fact, one of those things I’m grateful for right now that I’ll be writing in my gratitude journal tonight is my ability to use my hands as it has allowed me to type one more entry into this spiritual blog.

God willing, I don’t believe I will ever take for granted anything anymore that I have in my life. Having gone through the temporary loss of much of my normal state of being has given me a very deep appreciation for what I still have. Even more importantly, my heart is filled with a lot more love, light, and compassion now for all those people who live in the world with some form of a disability.

So the next time you find yourself being ungrateful for anything, I encourage you to take a moment, breathe, and try to “see” all the things you still have that so many others might not have in this world. And in all seriousness, if you are reading this right now with your eyes, be grateful for at least that, and understand there are 39 millions others who won’t ever be able to do the same.

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

Stop Blaming The President…

Since being born in 1972, I have been alive for the Presidency’s of Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama. While I may not remember much about the first few of those Presidents during the early years of my life, I do remember the majority of them since Carter. And if there’s one thing I’ve come to learn about all of them, it’s that no matter who the Head of State is at any given time, someone is always blaming them for the ills of the nation that happen during their term. But often, it’s not even the President’s fault.

Throughout my life, I have watched my grandparents, parents, my sister, both her first and second husbands, friends, partners, and other loved ones, complain time and time again about each President and how they feel the problems in our country are because of them. While some of the President’s decision making may not at times be in the best interest of the entire country at whole, it’s easy to place the blame on them for all our country’s troubles anyway. Many people look at the President as a god of some sort that is “way up there” and believe that each of them has some godly power to control and fix every single ill of society. But what most often forget about is that not only is the President just one person in a position of leadership within a large government structure, there is also a system of checks and balances for them with the Legislative and Judicial branches affecting much of what happens during their term. With the Senate, Congress, and the Supreme Court each having their own forms of control, it’s often that vetoes and decisions overrule the President’s attempts to make many of those positive changes people are seeking.

Many years ago I lived near Washington D.C. and got to see the first screening there of Michael Moore’s controversial movie entitled Fahrenheit 9/11. This was a documentary film about the events that happened during 9/11 and it showed evidence that proposed President Bush being a big cause to what happened on that tragic day. As I left the theater, there were news crews present that were interviewing people about their opinions on not only the movie but also on President Bush. One of them stopped me and ask if I felt the current President was the main problem for our country. My response was swift and to the point. I simply stated that too many of the citizens of our country are always quick to blame each and every President for every single problem. And I told them that the real work for changing our country to making it a happier, and healthier place, is done through each and every one of us. The news person was stunned and had no other questions to ask me after that.

Unfortunately, what people aren’t realizing is that if all of us could unite together with a lot more love and light, things would automatically change for the better without having to rely upon the President, or anyone else in political power for that matter. If we could just be more giving of ourselves selflessly to those less fortunate, things could move in the direction that we want the President to make them move. If we could practice greater peace making efforts with each other day to day, things could move in the direction that we want the President to make them move. If we could focus on unity rather than division, things could move in the direction that we want the President to make them move. And if we could work on integrating all walks of life together and embracing total equality, instead of using religious and other various platforms to segregate, things could move in the direction that we want the President to make them move. But instead, too many of us just sit back and point the fingers at the President, and do nothing more than continue to be selfish and self-centered in life which only makes our country a lot less loving of a place to be in.

The reality is that each of us have to do our part to making this country and this world a better place. The President is not the total cause of all the problems that revolve around our countries issues with drugs, poverty, the economy, job availability, gay marriage, health care, gun violence, and more. The finger pointing at others, especially the President really needs to end and instead be pointed directly back at oneself because that’s where the changes truly need to begin.

So the next time you might find yourself wanting to chastise the President to someone around you because of something bad happening in the country or the world, I encourage you to take a moment, breathe, and realize the President is not the person to blame. There are many others in political power affecting all of the unfortunate conditions in society who have just as much of a say. And if you are like me and not one of those in any position of political power, the changes you want to see the President make can still begin with you. Seek a Higher Guidance and begin practicing loving yourself and all others a lot more unconditionally and I’m sure you’ll not only start seeing the President in a very different light, you’ll probably stop blaming them for every problem too.

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson