I'm NOT Available

I was at this dinner yesterday. One of my friends that I had not seen for a while invited me. He had also invited another one of our mutual friends. So that’s 3 of us, and then there were 3 acquaintances of the original inviter who also showed up. I say acquaintances because I don’t think my friend would BE friends with people like them, and I say showed up because I like to think that my friend would not invite acquaintances like them

The three of us who were friends from our engineering college days displayed a startling number of common and, I hope you agree here, likeable behaviours.

One, we all came (arrived, you dirty minded troll) on time. We did not have to message the others 7 times or call for directions from across the street. Is it that fucking hard to find your way to a popular restaurant in an upscale hotel? I don’t think so. What is more likely is that they neither thought it important enough to look up the venue, nor leave on time.

Second, we did not look at our cellphones during dinner or drinks. I say cellphones because I think smartphones is a misnomer : the phones are not smart, and neither are most of their owners.

This is a pet peeve for me here, but I think if you are out to talk to somebody in person, that person should be more important that some piece of news that was sent passively for you. Are your real friends more important than the ones you have on facebook? Are those people connected to you on facebook really your friends? Do you know what these so called friends will do if you die? Send out a fucking message for somebody’s wall and add a frikkin bunch of screwy punctuation marks to symbolize the emotion they feel for a fraction of a second. Fuck the friend who won’t lend you money and to hell with the wall you can’t piss on, I always say.

And I don’t care what Rehman says, har ek friend zaroori nahin hota hae.
In fact, har ek friend, friend bhi nahin hota hae chootiye!

And replying to email? Really? Do you really have to answer your email as soon as it comes? You know who needs to do that? Insecure people. I’m sorry. I wish I could make up a joke here or something, but this is just not funny. Chill out on the email replies people. Unless you’re on the shitter, constipated, waiting for the turd to drop,  and you just pissed on whatever crap newspaper it is you carried into the loo with you, that email reply can wait.

And not just replies. People just look at their phones and READ email while there is a conversation going on. If the conversation at this table is so fucking boring, why don’t you take your interesting self to wherever it is the email message came from?

UNLESS you are expecting an email from a VC informing you of whether or not he is going to give you half a million bucks for your social media startup, checking for email every few minutes with the fervor of a monkey checking for lice on his brother's head is disrespectful and annoying.

And like I said, these are passive messages. These are messages that are sent out without an expectation of when you will read them. Unlike say a phone call, which could actually be a real living and breathing friend calling to ask you for money. Even with those, we have sunk into such a culture of availability (especially those of us who have had a cell phone from before college days), that people take your availability for granted.

Save yourselves before it is too late. Train your family and friends to respect the minimum time to response they should expect for every mode of communication. I’m not saying this is the minimum time that you will take. You will respond to all of them asap. But if you tell everybody that they should not expect a response - or at the very least that they should not get mad if they do not get a response by – the following times, then you will be free of the shackles of this availability expectation that we face…

Personal Invitation: On time (inside 10 minutes of stipulated time). Cancellations well in time with appropriate groveling attached

Email: 1 day turnaround. I'm writing  a post on just email, so more details there
Text Message/Phone Call: Call back inside of 4 hours
Second Txt/Phone: Immediate, but if you ONCE try me a second time for a stupid reason, all responses default back to 4 hours.
Facebook/Twitter/Myspace/Friendster/Orkut: Middle finger

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