Sometimes, I go into an AA meeting and immediately upon seeing the wrong person I get into a crappy mood. Once this happens it can be very difficult for me to get back on track and right myself. When I am angry, it is my job to right the ship not the job of the person who is triggering me.
As I have talked about I am adjusting to new times. In the last couple of years we have been taken over by cell phones. They have been around for more than that but just recently we are burying our heads more and more in our phones. It is really taking over our lives. A little bit over a year ago and I had to make an adjustment to this. I was out with my fiance and at dinner she spent a bit of time on her cell phone. I think they call it flubbing when you block out your partner and they are right in front of you. I should not have been bothered. I am secure in our relationship, it is firmly established but it just caught me off guard because I felt like it was disrespectful. I didn’t know it was okay to tune somebody out like that when you are out. I thought you can do it at home but going out to dinner was dedicated to the both of us paying attention to each other. Anyhow times are changing and I have made the adjustment as it is my duty to do so. It is my duty to adjust to the world not the worlds duty to adjust to me.
This in mind, I still had it in my mind until very recently that when you are at an AA meeting that you should not be on your cell phone. Perhaps a couple of seconds, perhaps you need to check something or simply turn off the phone or answer a call and then walk out of the meeting but nothing prolonged. As our cell phone dependence grows in society it seeps its way into all aspects of our life including the AA meeting. It was inevitable and I should have seen it coming. Yet again in the last two years cell phone usage at meetings is skyrocketing compared to that of the past just like outside the doors.
I was at a meeting a few months ago and I noticed this young lady, probably like 20 years old and she was distracted by her phone for the whole meeting. The entire time she has her head down and she is either listening to music or looking at her phone. This really bothered me because it just strikes me as highly self-centered. especially when some guy is up at the head of the table and he is spilling his guts telling you his whole life story and letting you in on some deeply intimate and perhaps embarassing info and you can’t even acknowledge him. Being that I hold on to info I remembered this girl and kept her in my memory bank.
Let’s fast forward to last Wednesday and this same girl is at the meeting. We have the same kind off deal, we have a guy spilling his guts out telling his very personal story to the room and this lady is driving me bonkers. I had the misfortune of sitting really close to her and she was drawing like a 6 year old child during the meeting and also looking at her cell phone and listening to music and pretty much giving the appearance that she could give two shits about anybody else in that room. If that wasn’t bad enough she is a loud chewer. Who’s the asshole that gave her chips and an apple to eat at the meeting. If you closed your eyes you would have thought you were sitting next to a horse enjoying a snack. I was getting so pissed. I look around and there’s another guy in the corner on his cell phone for prolonged periods of time busy texting. Mind you this is the second time I have seen him do this as well. So about half the meeting has gone by and the meeting is pretty much ruined I got MR ed sitting next to me drawing and eating apples and the I talk a good game but I don’t listen to others and I punched a homeless guy in a meeting guy in the corner on his cell phone. This meeting is pretty much fucked at this point. Then something clicked I took a good look at the girl and I realized that this girl is literally mentally handicapped. She is always there with a lady who is 30 years her senior and she is babysitting this young lady. I like to crack on people, I really do but I just can’t be mad at somebody who is retarded. That is my soft spot. Once I realized what was going on I figured it was okay for her to act like a child because mentally she is. For a second I fantasized about getting mad at her caretaker but I was able to emphathize with her as well so that was that. God stole my anger and I was able to salvage the meeting.
Now the perfectly mentally capable guy in the corner is another story. He is one of those slick guys like a said but ever since I heard he punched a homeless guy at the meeting then I figured he talks the talk but can’t walk the walk. So what he does is he plays with his phone the whole time the speaker is up there. Then when the speaker is done another guy shares and then this guy starts to speak with 15 minutes left in the meeting. And there about 20 other people in the room who just may want to share. Anyhow this guys takes up the last 15 minutes of the meeting and he is literally talking about how fucked up his life is. I want to scream at this guy and say “The guy who walks into a meeting, gets self absorbed for the entire hour. listens to nobody but himself, hoards all the speaking time to himself and punches people in the face is going to have a fucked up life. Over managing your life,having no room in your life to hear others, being a me first guy all the time is what keeps us in the negative spiral. In AA we always talk about service and what that means is actually putting others first. Actually putting aside your wants for the good of somebody else. It teaches us not to micromanage our needs, not to tend to them every single minute of every single day because doing that when we are in charge never works.
Anyhow, when I got out of the meeting. I said that I would not speak about the guy and I would not speak about the girl and I would move forward. And I had a nice half hour conversation with a couple of gentleman outside of the meeting and left in a good space. I have also come to accept that we are at a new place now in society. We are now at the place where it will be very common for people to be on their cell phones extensively at a meeting. I can not take it a slight to the speaker or as a slight to myself. Other peoples actions are merely a reflection of their own value system.