At my daughter’s college recently I was flabbergasted at all the young faces on the first week of classes staring at the floor.
It was so quiet — because everyone was texting. Or surfing Facebook. No one was looking or talking to each other. It was over-the-top annoying and perplexing.
In my day, coffee houses were full of students talking, laughing and making new friendships, while here was a vacuum of interpersonal communication in the real dimension. Starbucks is a quiet cave with no conversations blending into the samba rhythms of the background music.
Everyone these days appears to have their face in their phone. Is that because the whole world needs the phone’s constant tweets and pulsating applications to keep them entertained throughout their day? Wherever I roam holding my phone, I notice people’s brows furrowed, as their eyes are cast down on their device.
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Think of all the life we’re not living while walking and texting. If you’re constantly looking down at your phone, you may miss walking by the love of your life. Even a new career might evaporate if one doesn’t look up in the elevator while sharing it with a VIP who could make it happen. Opportunities knock only to people who open the door instead of staring down at the floor.
Even while eating dinner or sleeping, the phone will keep beeping or ringing unless you turn it off.
People are accepting the “lowest fruit on the tree” so to speak. Taking whatever stimulus during the day they can muster on their new apps for a little daily diversion. Cyberspace has taken the place of “in my face” when it comes to the younger generation communicating with each other.
Our voices are on sabbatical while our fingers are tapping away on the phone. Cell phones are bringing a texting revolution to our daily life. That electronic intrusion is costing us the pleasure of connecting in person with other people.
Over the last generation America’s population has grown taller while the electronics of computers and radios have shrunk into minuscule proportions. Why would anyone want to watch a movie on their phone instead of a big-screen television or movie house? I can barely see my screen on my Apple phone — and when I text I miss those teeny tiny buttons half the time.
Besides, my phone is constantly dying due to all the apps and Wifi and the “find my phone” feature in case the bad guys steal it.
I admit: I check it often because my cell phone acts like a hypnotic magnet drawing me to my messages. I can’t get my endorphin high until someone actually does text me. It’s a scientific fact that people’s brains are becoming addicted to the stimulus of answering their texts.
So will cell phones become obsolete? Probably not, because cell phones are an integral part of our culture. The world is a village of cell phone users. I admit I can’t function when my cell phone dies. I become distraught and I feel alienated from the world without my phone. So I’ll plug it in when I’m home and take it as my security when I venture out.
There’s always the movie theater. Their public service announcements demand you turn them off.
Now that’s a relief.
Louise Pollock Gruenebaum writes occasionally in this space.