Hello: Are we just cute and non-functional?

Adele just released her new song of regret and nostalgia called Hello and apparently it has taken the world by storm. I have yet to fully listen to it as I get bored by it thirty seconds in. I know. That is quite blasphemous for many of you.  It is what it is.  I am also a bit confused as to why people compared it to Lionel Ritchie’s Hello.  I, admittedly, will not spend any more time thinking about it. Someday, someone will just tell me.

Amusingly, a volunteer at my agency was singing that song very lightly at lunchtime last week.  I just laughed as the volunteer was eating very quickly and in between bites would sing and then play another game on his phone. He was singing “hello” while ignoring everybody in the room. It was a room filled with staff and volunteer alike eating lunch while looking at their phones.  People were playing games, texting, reading newsletters and even taking selfies. Why a person would take a selfie at the staff lunch room while eating a ho-hum lunch is beyond me. It is what it is. I suppose I will remain confused by this all.

At some point I had to make a remark. I couldn’t contain myself. see, as a kid, I was very talkative. So much so that my mom often had a headache. Or so she reminded me decades later.  I mentioned to the volunteer how he reminded me of my son with his iPad obsession. The volunteer laughed and then noted he was nothing like the kids of today. I bit. I asked “how so?” He noted that he does not text on his phone. Yes, he plays games while at the dinner table and the like. However, he does no texting on his phone. He noted he actually calls people. with his phone.  Huh?

I wrinkled my nose. I mentioned in turn that I hate calling people. I never answer my office phone. I don’t answer my home phone either since there is no way anyone I know would be calling em there. I, myself, don’t even know my own home number. You could offer me a million dollars (a bizarre version of indecent proposal) to tell you my number and I would cry over the lost money opportunity. The volunteer noted that he hates texting as the screen is too small. Although, the main reason he doesn’t text: he doesn’t want to worry about spelling.  Isn’t that what spell check is for?   Who worries about spelling these days? As a matter of fact no one even handwrites anymore. Many young people do not even know how to sign their name.  No joke.

Speaking of jokes. Just two weeks ago, I asked an employee to write a letter to a stakeholder. When she sent it to me she put the letter recipient’s address in the wrong place. She ended up addressing the letter to herself. I stared aghast at the letter.  I believe in staff development. However, this was just lifeskill development. Do I have to teach everything from letter writing, to creating a signature to saving a Word document as a PDF? Yes, I had to do that as well as few months back.  The workplace is now such an odd place of mix-matched professional and life skills.  There was even an employee who brought their mother in once to argue on their behalf for a better annual review.

Oh Adele! Look what turmoil your song has wrought on my life. I started off with hello and now I am wondering how can we all work together?  All this got me thinking of the cute telephone booth I came across in Hawaii. It was so cute with its Hawaiian look I had to take a picture of it. After I took it, I wanted to see how it actually worked. Last time I used a phone booth in the US, I think it was a quarter. I might be wrong about that-especially if it makes me seem older than I am. I can’t deal with that today either.  As I went to use the phone I looked at the scroll. It was “out of service”.   It was cute but non-functional just like much of life nowadays.

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14 replies »

  1. People once also had the dream of a paperless office, but hundredthousands of emails each and every day and a diversity of internet functions were not able to replace real documents on paper for the important matters. I really like this kind of disfunctionality in technology matters due to the fact that I am a bit conservative to some extent. So our modern time can really quickly lead you off the track.


    • I remember the impossible dream of a paperless office. From sometime in the 1980s, right? I’m a bit old-fashioned when it comes to technology, too. That’s a reason that I use on myself for being so lax on posting anything on my blog(s). Fear of not appearing as good as I could on all this new-fangled stuff.


    • As an old (pseudo) flower child, I like that part of the phone, too. Yellow is also one of my favorite colors, along with green.

      Mimi, couldn’t you have just figured out a way to lift that and walk off with it, especially since it’s not used anymore? I know having something like that to look at would certainly brighten my day with memories of Hawaii, its calm and peaceful beauty, not to mention its sunshine as opposed to SF’s fog and NYC’s snow.


  2. Now you made me listen to that Adele song. Well, 20 seconds from the middle, anyway. That was enough vocal gymnastics for me! The letter thing is interesting, my daughter once asked me how to write a ‘proper letter’. I told her to google it, how’s that for lazy parenting? I call it teaching self-reliance. A friend has a basket at the front door that everyone has to put their phone into when they come for a meal or family gathering. I haven’t been quite brave enough for that. I do wish I had kept the ancient heavy black phone I had at my first house, though.


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