Friday, December 06, 2013

Smart Phones, Dumb People

Do you ever have a craving for certain foods? Of course you do. I'm not talking about the stereotypical bizarre cravings that can come with pregnancy. Do those even really exist? Do pregnant women really crave chocolate covered pickles or is that just something they use for comedic purposes in Hollywood?

I digress. A few weeks ago, I had a hankerin' for pancakes. Personally, I feel that I'm not very good at making pancakes. I mean, I'm okay, but IHOP can do a much better job. So I treated myself to a delicious stack of pancakes at the International House of Pancakes one fine fall evening.

I was dining alone that night, so I pulled out my smartphone to kill time while I waited for my food to arrive. Candy Crush may be ridiculously addictive, but it is a highly effective cure for boredom. Of course, once my plate was in front of me, the phone went away.

While I ate, a family of six came into the restaurant and was seated near me. This family consisted of a father, mother and four daughters ranging from preteen to preschool in age. I couldn't help but notice that, as soon as they all sat down, three of the six of them were on their phones.

To me, this seems like a really sad and all too common sight in our modern world. A few months ago, when I had downgraded to a dumb phone for a while, I debated going back to a smartphone for this very reason. For someone like me, who finds conversation difficult at times, it's easy to retreat into my phone. Even when I was around people I enjoy being around, I would pull the phone out and surf through Facebook. With a dumb phone, I was able to completely be in whatever situation I was in.

I thought it was heartbreaking to watch a husband and wife who were sitting across from each other but were really worlds apart. If you're going to be there together, be there together. Couples seem to have a hard enough time communicating without mobile devices distracting them. When one of the younger girls tried to talk to her dad, she called him several times before he huffed and put down his phone to give her some attention. 30 seconds later, the phone was back in his hands.

This is sort of a cautionary tale. Hopefully it will serve as a reminder that we should be present with our loved ones who are in the room with us, rather than checking the latest tweets from celebrities that don't know we exist.

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