This post comes from a newspaper column I wrote in 2014. Imagine it happening today!
An interesting phenomenon occurred last evening. I attended an event where there were no cell phones.
I was unaware that such places still existed. The place was an auction barn, and I inadvertently discovered that most of the crowd were those well past middle age.
Arriving early, I bought a cup of ice cream and settled down for my favorite sport-people watching.
It wasn’t hard to notice the conspicuous absence of something. In contrast to the usual sight of people submerged in their private worlds of texting, these folks were sitting side by side, laughing and talking to one another while looking at each other. Clearly, they were enjoying themselves.
What was different? It took a moment, but finally I realized no one was holding a cell phone.
Before you label me as a crotchety old geezer who is opposed to technology, you need to know that I do own a cell phone and use it every day. But, having been raised in the (gasp!) pre-cell phone day, I recall how pleasant it was to walk into a roomful of people, carry on real conversations and exchange mind-stimulating ideas.
In pre-cell phone days, reading vocal nuances and facial expressions gave oceans of meaning to spoken words. We didn’t have to type LOL or use emoticons to convey expressions. It was great!
It caused me to consider this thought: How many of us go home at the end of the day and say, “Wow! I just had a really uplifting text from somebody. It stretched my mind!”
Instead we settle for the fast lane, using quick texts with abbreviations, because we don’t have time to communicate deeply.
Is it possible we have lost something in our techno-paced world?
Do we care enough to carve time for deep levels of communication? In an effort to provide easy communication, perhaps we have substituted shallow communication instead.
We have raced to conquer the outer limits. Perhaps we should go back to the things our grandparents knew all along: life gets better in the slow lane.
Have any insights into the effect cell phones have on our lives? Feel free to commment below.