Cell phones. I could go on and on about this, and you could as well. Cell phones are a great invention and a great tool, but some people... yikes.
I saw three ladies walking together. Two were talking on their cell phones. Were they talking to each other? About the third?
I saw an older guy riding a bike. He had a cigarette in one hand, a cell phone in another. How did he bike?
More and more, when I see stupid, thoughtless and/or unsafe driving on the freeway, the driver is talking on his/her cell phone. And usually driving a white car, but that's another subject (of which the title would be White Car Drivers: Worst In The World).
It's a particular pet peeve in theaters. My oldest son (Matthew) and I have often been driven nuts by people who accept, and persist in cell phone calls during movies. When they flash the "Please Silence Your Cell Phone" screens before the movie, Matt and I applaud loudly. He'll often say, very loudly, "DAD, DID YOU PUT YOUR CELL ON 'SILENT'?" And I'll loudly say, "HERE, LET ME CHECK," and hold the cell above my head, and silence it.
One recent movie: it's the very dramatic, heartwrenching climax. Some idiot gets a call, AND TAKES IT.
I have often leaned across to such people and said, "Don't you just hate it when the White House keeps bugging you?"
How can these calls be that important? Good heavens, if you knew you'd be called in to brain surgery, don't go to a movie!
I understand parents going to movies, leaving baby sitters, and setting their phones on vibrate. Then you see the call, and you leave the theater, and take it. There are other people in the world, right? At least that's what I hear.
Cell phones, I-Pods... these can all be ways of communicating to the people around you that, to you, they don't exist. Or they're inconsequential. Not very Matthew 7:12 behavior.
Pastoral addendum. So here's a pastoral pet peeve. No, I'll just phrase it as a command:
When the pastor comes over, turn your darned TV off!
For that matter, when anyone comes over, turn the darned TV off.
"So, if you died and stood before God, and He asked you, 'Why should I let you into my Heaven,' what would you say?"
"Oh. Wow. Well, I guess I'd -- oh, wait. It's the Daily Double!"
Leaving your TV or your radio on when someone is there to see you tacitly says, "I'm pretty sure you're not interesting enough to keep my brain functional, so I need this going in the background, mmkay?"
No, not really "mmkay."
Turn it off, put it down, pull it out of your ear. Be there for and with the people who are there for and with you.