I’ve been thinking a lot about privacy these days. As the world shifts towards an ever expanding definition of seclusion and confidentiality I am struck by the ever pressing question, “when someone asks you to Mind your own business, what exactly does that mean?”
Allow me to explain my sisters.
We live in a world where I can see what someone looks like just by entering their name into a search engine. No longer is there a sense of exclusivity when it comes to entertainment or fashion or news.
Did I miss Milan fashion week due to work requirements? Hell no. I downloaded the shows live streaming between patients. Can my patients Google me before their doctor’s appointment to find out my back story? Of course they can. How we navigate this kind of exposure in life and in life lessons remains an ever pressing paradigm shift.
Which brings me to my latest observation on the subject of BUSY BODIES. I would argue that I myself am somewhat of a busy body. I don’t necessarily meddle in other people’s affairs but I certainly offer an opinion or two, often in an unsolicited manner.
Some see it as an unwanted, invasive contribution to another person’s life. I see it as my own personal input into making the world a better place.
Perhaps I might elaborate with an example.
I buy my coffee every morning at the same café in Vancouver. At 6:30am I indeed can be found forking over five dollars or more on a grande Americano (with an extra shot) for moi and a double machiatto for the boy. I love my little café. They know me, they know my drink order and even from time to time will begin making it for me before I even order so that its ready right when I pay. In a world of ever expanding uncertainties, I praise the familiar in the hopes that we all might someday be understood.
There I was in line in front of a harmless young man who was placing his order. He was a bit gruff in his mannerism but it was indeed before 7am. I gave his rudeness the benefit of the doubt until he placed his order with an authoritative huff,
“Give me a latte and a cheese muffin.” He barked.
“That’ll be $6.56.” the cashier said.
The interaction was about to proceed on schedule when I piped in,
“What’s the magic word?” I asked
“Huh,” said the oaf.
“The magic word?” I smiled cheekily.
“Oh, yah, Thanks.”
Forget that the magic word was indeed PLEASE, I understand that I was overstepping my boundaries in the name of manners everywhere.
As we waited for our coffees together, my fellow patron turned to me and suggested,
“you know you could just mind your own business.”
“Yes,” I agreed, “I could. But what’s the point of that?”
When I relayed this story to my beloved, he laughed with the observation, “You’re lucky you are charming, sweetie- otherwise he might have let you have it.”
This is indeed true. This is not the first time in my life, let alone that week, that I have not “minded my own business”, in the name of mainstream civility.
Yesterday, I suggested that a smoker on a bike in my bike lane put out his cigarette while he was riding. We were both stopped at a light on our bikes. He was smoking and I was staring at him smoking.
“Is it bothering you?” he asked, waiting for the light to change. I took a sip of my water, he took a drag off his Marlboro.
“A bit,” I mused, “and it certainly does not go with what you are wearing. Doesn’t the whole bike thing really clash with the cigarette?” I suggested.
And sure enough he stubbed the cigarette out.
I did not mind my own business and indeed my world became a better place. How was this any different than me suggesting to Mr. Grumpy that he develop a sense of colloquial decorum while ordering a latte?
I’m not suggesting we all put in our “two cents” wherever we feel like it. But isn’t it a bit naïve of us to ask someone to “mind their own business” when a perfect stranger can friend you on Facebook or follow your every move on Twitter? What is “your own business” anymore?
As the lines of privacy continue to blur perhaps we should be more selective on where we add our opinions, perhaps not. Perhaps the world needs more people minding less of their own business.
I can’t help but turn on the news every day and wonder what this planet would look like if more of us minded LESS of our own business?
Would this indeed be a kinder, safer place to live if we had a little more BUSY BODY in the water?
No evidence this week, my sisters- just a ponder for you to ponder. Go ahead, discuss among yourselves and get back to me.