Nope. The entire family was clutching cell phones, fingers flying, texting away, oblivious to each other and to everyone around them. Gary and I watched them in amusement that gradually turned to dumbfounded”seriously?” the longer they remained huddled over their phones in clueless rapture. A family dinner together, and all anyone could do was send text after text like mindless dolts? I felt sad watching them.
Coincidentally, Gary and I had just decided on new cell phones that would allow us waaaay more texting than our outdated, antiquated phones. I leaned over to him and whispered, “Please don’t let us ever get like that.”
We vowed to never become glassy-eyed texting zombies, like so many people we know. “Keep it down in the car, kids! Mommy needs to focus on talking and texting while she drives.” No, that’s not for me.
Now that I have a phone with far more gadgets and capabilities than my old one, I still am not enamored with plastering my face to the phone or drooling on the keyboard. Sure, it’s fun to check my email from my precariously balanced position on the elliptical trainer at the gym, just because I can. It’s cool to search something on Google from the car or without ever leaving the comfort of my favorite seat in the living room. And I love exchanging sometimes loving, other times smartass texts with Gary through the day to keep in touch and get a good chuckle.
But I can’t help thinking that people glued to their phones, emailing from their phones, texting like crazy, are hopelessly lacking in real lives. I don’t have time to endlessly text or cruise the Internet with my phone, and no interest to do so. Very few people truly need 24/7 access to emails or round-the-clock availability to the entire electronic world. People on call for life-and-death jobs, sure. But the average person trotting around with the latest overpriced Crackberry is simply puffed up on self-indulgence and an inflated sense of self-importance. You are really not so important that you need all that crap. You just think you are. You just want others to think you are.
I like playing with the gadgets on my new phone, but when it comes down to it, I’d rather turn the damn thing off, curl up with Gary, exchange our rapid-fire jokes, laugh like fools, go to the park with the kids, live my life, actually talk face-to-face, and experience the world around me, not mindlessly hump a silly phone.
The funny thing is, I don’t consider myself a terribly sociable person, yet I feel repelled by the mechanical, impersonal, and lifeless, one-dimensional medium of texting and typing and doing anything but talking to communicate. Even worse, people seem to think it’s acceptable to sit at dinner, walk around with friends, or hell, even sit at their own children’s soccer games, and never come up for air from their phones, as if the people around them, including their children, are beneath whatever drivel pops up on the screen of their phone. Rude? More than that. Try hopelessly infatuated with themselves.
I like genuineness, sincerity, directness. That leaves me suspecting that the biggest fans of texting are people not entirely comfortable being who they are or with the honest expression of their words, and are more comfortable hiding behind a computer screen, a keyboard, a phone keypad. Give me a face-to-face conversation any day, whether that conversation is a friendly catch-up with a friend or a toe-to-toe confrontation.
My phone sits in my purse most of the day, and if someone has to leave a voice mail, that is all right. The outside world can stay right where it is until I am damn good and ready to invite it in. If you are so quick to spring onto your phone and so hesitant to put the stupid thing down, have you ever wondered why that outside world is more tempting that the life playing out right around you?