Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Anti Busy-Body

In church on Sunday, I watched a young woman cough into her sleeve, and it made me sad. I get that it's probably a better solution than using your hands, but the part of me that is anti busy-body doesn't want to see society adopt this convention. Somewhere there is a smug person thinking, "I started the sleeve-coughing thing," and every time she sees someone cough into his sleeve, she feels slightly more superior.

Recently, Gmail has started reading the e-mails I'm composing and suggesting words that come next. Even though these suggestions are usually correct, I make a point of not only not accepting them, but changing my planned phrasing.

Instagram is suggesting I follow accounts of people based only on the fact that I have e-mailed these people in the past, even though I have never given Instagram permission to mine my e-mail contacts. I'll be damned if I accept a single one of their suggestions. I don't even use the URL that identifies how I got to an article when I want to re-share something. When I see a Facebook ad for something that I actually might be interested in, I open another tab and search for it.

A few weeks ago, I took a picture of my son's baseball team. A few days later, based on running that picture through facial-recognition software, my phone suggested I follow the Instagram account of one of my son's coaches. This is busy-bodiness to an extreme. I'd rather sneeze into my hands and then use some hand sanitizer than validate the rise of busy-body culture.

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