I could have made this post about the horrors of having hiccups. Because I have hiccups as I’m writing this. But I didn’t know I was going to have hiccups before I sat down, so even though hiccups are the worst thing ever, I’m going to eschew the opportunity to rant about the misery they are currently inflicting on me because I’d already decided to pretend to be annoyed about something else.
And that something is people who stop directly in front of me without any justifiable reason for doing so.
It’s a phenomenon I’ve been experiencing a lot lately and it’s mystifying.
It happened today. Mrs Proclaims and I were popping into our local Waitrose to get some essentials (yogurts, sparkling water and mixed peppers to be precise, none of which are ‘essentials’ now I think about it, but all of which suggest a marginally healthier lifestyle that either of us actually lead). A man was walking in front of us and then all of sudden just stopped in the doorway to check his phone. His phone wasn’t even ringing. He seemed to be either checking a message or writing a message. Apparently he couldn’t wait until he’d actually entered the shop; he deemed the shop entrance to be the best place to carry out this activity.
Being inherently quite polite, Mrs Proclaims and I stood and waited for a few seconds. Then we waited a few seconds more. Eventually I was moved to ask him to get out of the way, which I managed with surprising politeness, because my instinctive reaction was to swing the metal shopping basket in my hand at his head.
I could let this go as a one-off incident, involving one ignorant individual, if it wasn’t the second time this had happened to me in the space of a week.
For it was but a few days ago that Mrs Proclaims and I were impeded by a different man, in a different shop, also because he had stopped to use his mobile phone. The only difference was that we were attempting to leave the shop rather than enter.
So is this now a thing in our society? Is it ok just to stop wherever you want to in order to send a text message or interact with social media. Because that doesn’t seem like it should be ok. It seems actually quite rude.
But what is the correct response? Do I continue to turn the other cheek, remain passive and polite and navigate my way around these oblivious obstacles, or is it time to take action?
Maybe I should impound their phones. Technically that would be theft, but maybe the law needs to change. If people can’t be trusted with electronic devices then maybe it is time to introduce some kind of ‘Citizens Confiscation’ edict.
Now I think about it, annoyingly obstructing my path is only one example of the abuse of mobile technology. There are loads of ignorant and antisocial behaviours caused by these devices.
The next time I meet a friend and they spend more time on their phone than they do talking to me, I’m just going to take it off them.
If I hear anyone having a phone conversation that is excessively loud on a train then I’m going to exercise my right to repossess.
And the next time I hear someone playing music on their mobile in a public space without using headphones – then I may just opt to relocate their device to an orifice of their choosing…
Unless I happen to have the same taste in music. I might let them off with a verbal warning in that scenario.