I once visited a small Texas town and attended an art opening by a local painter. It was a particularly fine turnout for such a tiny town but there was something strange about the scene.
There were people of all ages, young hipsters to senior citizens, with a few kids running around, too. But still, something was off.
The various conversations were lively and creating a buzz, with an atmosphere that was friendly but something kept niggling at my subconscious.
And then it hit me - no one had their cell phones out. People were talking to one another, face-to-face, fully engaged – and no one was constantly checking their phone.
Is it Possible?
In my town most people I know constantly have their phones in hand or on the table when seated.
I've grown so used to seeing people listen with half a mind to the conversation at hand; thumbing a text or searching the Web while spending “quality” time with someone right in front of them.
I don't want to get all Andy Rooney about this but what's happening to us? Are we really that busy? That important?
Cell Phones Aren't the Problem.
I mean I do love the latest and coolest technology. Do you actually remember our lives before such wonders? Ever have your car break down and no ability to call someone?
Remember driving and getting lost before those gorgeous built-in GPS's? We live in a remarkable time and are incredibly lucky to have all this helpful and fun technology.
The phones are not the problem by any stretch of the imagination. But at what point did we stop being able to simply sit and talk to one another? It's not the phone's fault, it's just a thing and an awesome one at that.
To have such a wealth of technology in such a tiny space and the whole world at your fingertips is really remarkable and heady.
But isn't there something we can do where we can just take a breath, turn it off for a bit and just “be?”
Then after a solidly focused conversation with a friend we can fire up our more constant companion and unwrap the gift of texts and emails like a sweet long-distance hello.
We have the technology to do awe-inspiring things but do we have the willpower to occasionally take a breather? I don't know. It takes concentrated effort on my part, that's for sure. How about you?