It seems I’ve written about this before, but it still bears saying: life was a lot more civil before the internet.
You didn’t have “friends” on Facebook that you weren’t really friends with in high school or in past jobs with TMI postings about their love life, their photos from dinner, their half-naked selfies on the beach, their unnamed passive aggressive postings to other Facebook friends, etc.
It wasn’t so easy to vent about companies on Twitter and tag them in hopes that someone will listen or attempt to placate you with some freebie.
There wasn’t that sense of panic or loss of self-worth because you didn’t get enough “likes” or “retweets” or “shares” or whatever.
And finally, you didn’t just say whatever you felt like saying to anonymous people on the other side of the computer screen, whether it was insensitive, racist, judgmental, abusive or condescending.
And that last category is where this gets filed under today… such a great way to start off the new year. I bought an Xbox 360 because it seemed like the price came down low enough on Black Friday, used games are plentiful and cheap now, and there is enough mix of Kinect games for the kids and console games for me that it was a good investment.
But, I had problems the moment I turned it on. I bought a used Kinect that wouldn’t power on, and it wouldn’t connect to my wireless network. In fact, I tried 12 of the 13 steps on their support site trying to troubleshoot before contacting the chat agent. To be honest, “Perry” annoyed me from the start. He kept sending me links to things that I had already done, seemed unwilling to help, and at the end, suggested that I contact AT&T because he thought my network was too slow.
Then, I lost my cool and told him that both his service and this new Xbox was crappy, and you know what? I thought I was justified because he was probably in India somewhere, or at the closest, in Redmond, Washington. We weren’t face-to-face, and it’s easy to talk trash to the computer screen.
And then I realized: I’m abusing a stranger working on his holiday while I’m spending mine playing a video game from my couch.
I’m sure that Perry had better things to do on January 1 than spend an hour watching me type “I tried that” about a dozen times in veiled frustration and send me about a half-dozen links to various troubleshooting articles. By the time he had finished solving my problem (and in the outcome, I can tell you it was my problem and not Microsoft’s), I felt that I owed him an apology for being a jerk, especially since he concluded our conversation with absolute kindness.
If I’m being completely transparent, it is so easy to be so self-righteous when you’re being served, as if you’re owed something. But if I truly profess to be a follower of Christ, then I need to follow His example:
Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.—John 13:3-5 (ESV)