Last September, I got on the bus and saw one of my classmates on board. We have talked a few times and are on friendly terms, although not particularly close. He looked up from his phone as I got on and said hi, and I sat down near him. We were the only ones on the bus. I asked him how his day was. He said it was good, and went back to his phone. It looked like he was texting someone.

The bus kept on. My classmate continued his texting conversation, while I sat in silence. I will confess that I felt a bit bothered by the exchange. It seemed rude to focus on his phone rather than engage in conversation.

Then I asked myself, “Why should this bother me? Perhaps he is engaged in a really important conversation and can’t be distracted. Maybe he’s had a tough day and wants to talk it over with his friend. Maybe he has other reasons. Even though I don’t do much texting, maybe he has a different relationship with his phone. I’m pretty sure that he isn’t intentionally snubbing me. And if he is, why should that affect me? What if he were playing a game instead? The fact that he is choosing to engage with some mindless distraction instead of enjoying the pleasure of my company shouldn’t affect me. That’s his loss.”

The bus arrived at my stop. I got up and said bye to my classmate as I walked to the bus door. I don’t know if he responded. I got off and walked home.

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