The new digital nomad
Talking down to wait staff. Talking loudly on a video call. Talking about private business in a public place. Talking as they hold court through a series of brunch and lunch dates. Always talking. Even on the gym equipment, they are on the phone. Not a quick call (which I could probably understand) but a full-blown meeting it seems. These are the new digital nomads in our midst. There seems to have been a proliferation of this new brand of people working remotely, with earbuds in and laptop open occupying previous sanctuaries for a quiet coffee or chat with friends or in the gym where there should just be the drone of the treadmill, the clanging of weights and the background music.
So, since this working from everywhere but the workplace lark is keeping up, I’m in favour of a manifesto that can be pasted up in every eatery, coffee shop, doctor/dentist / (fill in the blank) kids ECA waiting area. Instead of trying to be stoic and dignified, sharing looks with other aggrieved patrons when it gets really atrocious, or stifling a tirade of shooshes when you’re at your wit's end, we would have a helpful sign that we need only point to. It would read as follows:
- Thou shalt be mindful to occupy a table for one, not six, given space is at such a premium these days with social distancing, and taking more room than you need is not cool.
- Thou shalt not inform a bunch of strangers what you did on the weekend, how your partner is, how your kids are, how you’re coping with the pandemic, what you think of Trump, or Biden, or Astra Zeneca, or Brexit etc. Just do your business…call. Quietly.
- Thou shalt remember that it’s bad enough that we have to hear your side of the conversation. Please wear your headphones so we don’t also have to hear everyone else on the call coming out of your computer screen.
- Thou shalt be prepared for a room full of people to answer yes (and not in a good way), when you repeat the words “can you hear me, can you hear” while you navigate lags and technical difficulties arising from you using a café to conduct video calls with people on the other side of the world.
- Thou shalt consider stepping outside to conduct phone calls, in which case we can eliminate points two to four.
- Though shalt not use every single power socket in the place. We know, how awful it is when you run out of charge on your various digital devices. But it might also be a blessing. At least for the rest of us.
- Though shalt keep your Spotify playlist and podcast recommendations to yourself. Please assume we know all about the Wim Hof method, performance hacks, Joe Rogan, bitcoin and other features of your culture. (Ok, maybe we’re lying about bitcoin. Does anyone really understand block chain?)
- Thou shalt be quiet and remember: silence is golden