About a million words have been spoken and written about what cell phones are doing to us, i.e., giving us brain cancer, making us unable to communicate verbally, walling us off from each other, yada, yada, yada…..
Something happened recently that made me start to think more about this. I was in a parking lot, walking from my car into a store. I was walking along with car bumpers close by on my right side. Directly ahead of me was a guy walking toward me, deeply absorbed in texting.
I could go no farther to the right without running into car bumpers. “He sees me,” I told myself and continued my path. He came closer and closer and never looked up, so he simply ran into me and almost knocked me off my feet. I couldn’t believe it. He had feet and feet of space where he could have gone to his right, but he was oblivious to it and oblivious to me. His arm hit my shoulder and he looked up at me as if I had just landed from Mars. He didn’t hurt me, but he jostled me. And he didn’t even have the decency to apologize.
I work with a young man who is on his phone every minute of every day—texting, Facebooking, shopping, messaging or whatever else he does on the phone. Even when I’m trying to talk to him, he’s only listening with one ear. His eyes are glued to his phone screen. Why management doesn’t land on him, I don’t know, because he behaves that way not just to me, but to everybody.
I work with a young woman who keeps her cell phone hidden, but who has FaceBook open at all times and constantly refers to it.
I work with yet another one who plays gambling games all day long, even while we’re at lunch and trying to have a simple conversation.
When I walk into the break room, almost every person there is texting or doing something on the phone. Nobody even says hello anymore.
I have another acquaintance who pulls her cell phone from her pocket or purse every few minutes to check for something. It’s impossible to have an uninterrupted conversation with her. I never have her full attention.
I have yet another friend who weaves from lane to lane while driving while she’s either trying to get the phone out of her purse or trying to punch in a number or read a text. At least, I haven’t seen her text while driving, but she might do that. I no longer know, because I’ve quit riding with her.
Just last week, I heard a young woman talk about dropping her cell phone in a cup of Coke when she was texting while she was driving on a major highway.
I’ve seen two teenage girls standing a foot from each other and texting each other.
These days, you hardly see a young person who doesn’t have a cell phone in his or her hand. Only older people have them in holders attached to their belts or secured in their purses. But they still have them with them. Even if you’re on welfare, the government will provide you with a cell phone, and it isn’t just *any* cell phone. It’s an iPhone or an Android if you want it.
So do any of you recall the days when if the phone rang at your home and you weren’t there to answer it, you simply were not home? And if the caller wanted to talk to you about something important, he or she would call you back when you were at home? Do you remember the days when we didn’t have voice mail?
When I was in the real estate business, I had “Call Waiting.” But I hated it. I thought nothing was ruder than abandoning the person or person with whom I was talking to answer the phone. But, for some reason, it was a tool I thought I needed.
So now that we’re to the place where almost no one (and I mean no one) is without a cell phone, especially if one is under 25 years old, where are we really? We’ve exponentially compounded rudeness. We’ve almost eliminated verbal communication. We’re encouraging young people, who are already easily distracted, to have the attention span of a gnat.
And I could go on and on. Am I just an old fuddy-duddy who can’t adapt to the times?
What comes of all of this? Does anybody know?
By the way, for you who are interested, THE LOVE OF A STRANGER will be a free download on Amazon on the 17th and 18th. You can download it to your Kindle, your computer, your iPad, your iPhone or most other devices if you get the Amazon app. I don’t, however, think you’ll be able to get the Amazon app on Nook, but I don’t know for sure. So if you want to read it for free, there you go. 🙂