I walked into my doctors busy waiting room and was amazed at how many people were sitting glued to their smart phones. No one even looked up to see who had entered. I probably could have been naked and they still wouldn’t have noticed. Although it probably would have cleared the room.I had the feeling I had walked into an episode of the Twilight Zone. It could have been about a group of people who were taken hostage by a giant computer conglomerate that had found a way to take over people’s minds through their cell phones and turned them into Zombies!
There was a time when people who were perfect strangers would interact when they were in a train station, airport, line, waiting room, etc. Not today! More often than not , you are left to witness individuals talking or texting on their phone. It’s really creepy when they’re talking out loud and you think they’re saying something to you. Then you notice the ear buds. I first witnessed this in an airport. I was standing next to a woman who seemed confused and kept saying ” Do you understand me?” I must have said “No, I don’t”, a bunch of times. Every time I responded she gave me a disgusted look as if there was something wrong with me. She finally blurted out “I’m on the phone”! Since I didn’t see the phone or her ear piece I surmised she was hallucinating and quickly moved far away.
I realize the era of technology is here to stay, but I’m hoping that we can become more pragmatic about how to use it. My fear is that we are losing sight of how to connect with each other unless we are dialoging through a gadget. I also worry that young teens are losing themselves in lieu of emulating so-called celebrities like the Kardashians, Justin Bieber and the like. Tweets have become analogous to self-worth. Getting lots of tweets or likes means you just might be attaining some digital fame. Posting everything and everything that might get a response has overtaken the need to embrace privacy. Real communication is being sidelined in deference to shorthand and pictures.
Whenever I mention any of the above in a workshop as one of the reasons we see more stress today, someone will always say “Well, what can you do?” One of the ways we can create better ways to connect is to demand it. Tell your friends and family that a quick text is fine but you would rather a phone call than going back and forth as if you’re co-authoring a biography. Don’t give up having face to face conversations. Your body/mind and spirit will thank you.