Why do people have to fiddle with things?
This trait seems to be particularly noticeable with the ubiquitous mobile phone. People can't seem to leave it alone. You see them in the supermarket making or receiving calls: "Yes, I'm by the peas at the moment..." or fiddling about sending texts.
The trouble is that manufacturers of other electronic goods think that everyone now fiddles with everything. All of the time!
We bought a new TV last year, a lovely flat-screen jobby and we are very pleased with it. Except it likes you to fiddle with the remote control. It expects you to fiddle, push buttons and change channels. So if you don't fiddle, like if you are watching a good film, or at the weekend when we were watching the Open golf, after a couple of hours of NOT fiddling with the remote, a message appears in the middle of the screen 'Unless you press OK within the next five minutes, this device will turn itself off.'
There is then a frantic search to find the remote - because we haven't been fiddling, and weren't intending fiddling, it is not within arms reach, but wherever whoever turned the TV on put it down.
The computer likes you to fiddle with it even more regularly.
I like to use the BBC iplayer to catch programmes that I've missed, or which are on too late for me. But I have to remember while watching to continually keep moving the mouse about, because if I don't, after a few minutes the computer will decide that no-one is present and will turn the monitor off. With no warning!
The first time it did this while I was watching a re-run of a Graham Norton chat show. I thought there was something wrong with the PC.
But no! It is a 'feature' !
The other day I caught a piece on TV news that a survey had been carried out to find out if people thought it was rude to fiddle with a mobile phone while having a conversation with someone face to face. Needless to say, the people who did fiddle with their mobiles thought it was perfectly OK to do so.
But, be warned, I would be tempted to slap the mobile out of the hands of someone fiddling with it while talking to me.
There is simply no need to be constantly updating all and sundry with every detail of where you are and what you are doing. There are few things sooo urgent that they can't wait a few minutes before you broadcast them.
So folks, I want you to try a little exercise to increase the tranquility of the world:
turn off your mobile phone, sit on your hands and just listen
Listen to nature
Listen to the traffic
Listen to the silence
But most of all: listen to the person who is with you right now.