G.L.Piggy [at] gmail.com
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Have you ever noticed when you’re driving or waiting in line or doing some other social activity which requires the other participants to adhere to certain pre-ordained rules and regulations, that you become agitated with the other participants if they seem like they aren’t paying attention?
This is why people freak out on people who are talking or texting on their cell phones in traffic. Or why we get agitated with people waiting in line who are jabbering on the phone or to their companion. We aren’t even concerned with the fact of whether or not the system is flowing smoothly enough. The system might flow the same regardless of that person’s activities, but the increased chance that the system will fail because this one person gums up the works puts us at a high level of anxiety. The person talking on their cell phone could be going the speed limit and driving perfectly well, but we’d still look at them derisively and worry that they’d fail. And any slight roadway faux pas is immediately chalked up to their cell phone use even if it might perhaps be attributed to natural human error and/or their crappy driving skills – two things which we will generally forgive.
It’s about trustworthiness, and we lose faith in others ability to adhere to the rules of the system when they aren’t paying a certain amount of attention to the flow of the system.